Valley degeneracy in biaxially strained aluminum arsenide quantum wells

S. Prabhu-Gaunkar*, S. Birner, S. Dasgupta, C. Knaak, M. Grayson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper describes a complete analytical formalism for calculating electron subband energy and degeneracy in strained multivalley quantum wells grown along any orientation with explicit results for AlAs quantum wells (QWs). In analogy to the spin index, the valley degree of freedom is justified as a pseudospin index due to the vanishing intervalley exchange integral. A standardized coordinate transformation matrix is defined to transform between the conventional-cubic-cell basis and the QW transport basis whereby effective mass tensors, valley vectors, strain matrices, anisotropic strain ratios, piezoelectric fields, and scattering vectors are all defined in their respective bases. The specific cases of (001)-, (110)-, and (111)-oriented aluminum arsenide (AlAs) QWs are examined, as is the unconventional (411) facet, which is of particular importance in AlAs literature. Calculations of electron confinement and strain for the (001), (110), and (411) facets determine the critical well width for crossover from double- to single-valley degeneracy in each system. The biaxial Poisson ratio is calculated for the high-symmetry lower Miller index (001)-, (110)-, and (111)-oriented QWs. An additional shear-strain component arises in the higher Miller index (411)-oriented QWs and we define and solve for a shear-to-biaxial strain ratio. The notation is generalized to address non-Miller-indexed planes so that miscut substrates can also be treated, and the treatment can be adapted to other multivalley biaxially strained systems. To help classify anisotropic intervalley scattering, a valley scattering primitive unit cell is defined in momentum space, which allows one to distinguish purely in-plane momentum scattering events from those that require an out-of-plane momentum component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125319
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 16 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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