Nonsaturating magnetoresistance of inhomogeneous conductors: Comparison of experiment and simulation

Jingshi Hu, Meera M. Parish, T. F. Rosenbaum

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Abstract

The silver chalcogenides provide a striking example of the benefits of imperfection. Nanothreads of excess silver cause distortions in the current flow that yield a linear and nonsaturating transverse magnetoresistance (MR). Associated with the large and positive MR is a negative longitudinal MR. The longitudinal MR only occurs in the three-dimensional limit and thereby permits the determination of a characteristic length scale set by the spatial inhomogeneity. We find that this fundamental inhomogeneity length can be as large as 10 μm. Systematic measurements of the diagonal and off-diagonal components of the resistivity tensor in various sample geometries show clear evidence of the distorted current paths posited in theoretical simulations. We use a random-resistor network model to fit the linear MR, and expand it from two to three dimensions to depict current distortions in the third (thickness) dimension. When compared directly to experiments on Ag2±δ Se and Ag2±δ Te, in magnetic fields up to 55 T, the model identifies conductivity fluctuations due to macroscopic inhomogeneities as the underlying physical mechanism. It also accounts reasonably quantitatively for the various components of the resistivity tensor observed in the experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214203
JournalPhysical Review B
Volume75
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

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