Journal of Low Temperature Physics

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 147–174 | Cite as

Magnetic-field-induced semiconductor-semimetal transition in Bi-Sb alloys

  • E. W. Fenton
  • J. -P. Jan
  • Å. Karlsson


Accurate and detailed measurements of the temperature dependence of the longitudinal magnetoresistance of single-crystal Bi-Sb alloys have been made, with static magnetic fields in the range 0–100 kG oriented parallel to the trigonal axis. Alloy concentrations were in the range 8–12 at.% Sb, and temperatures in the range 1–35 K. At very high fields the resistance increases with increasing temperature in a metallic manner with “ideal” and “residual” components, in contrast to the semiconductor behavior observed at zero field or low fields. For the high-field semimetal regime the electrical resistance behaves in a simple manner similar to a metal in zero field, in contrast to the complicated magnetoresistance phenomena for metals in low fields. This behavior can be understood in terms of a simple quasi-one-dimensional extreme-quantum-limit regime. The magnetic-field-induced semiconductor-semimetal transition is associated with an energy gap and changes of the energy-band structure which are of order 1 meV. Thermal activation energies for electrical conduction manifest this gap only at temperatures below approximately 20 K. Activation energies an order of magnitude larger which have been measured at considerably higher temperatures are apparently the direct gap at theL-point in the Brillouin zone and are not directly connected with the semiconductor-semimetal transition. Our results indicate that the zero-field indirectL-T energy gap increases from zero somewhere near 7–8 at. % Sb to values only as large as approximately 1.5 meV at 12 at. % Sb. At the magnetic-field induced transition there occurs evidence of an intermediate “excitonic insulator” phase, a resistance minimum below 10 K reminiscent of the Kondo alloy behavior. This anomalous regime is a property of the semiconductor-to-semimetal transition and cannot be associated with the well-known temperature and magnetic-field “freeze-out” of charge carriers in extrinsic semiconductors, or with magnetic ordering of the Kondo type.


Static Magnetic Field Semiconductor Behavior Alloy Concentration Resistance Minimum Thermal Activation Energy 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. W. Fenton
    • 1
  • J. -P. Jan
    • 1
  • Å. Karlsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of PhysicsNational Research Council of CanadaOttawaCanada

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