Imaging the electronic Wigner crystal in one dimension

I. Shapir, A. Hamo, S. Pecker, C. P. Moca, Legeza, G. Zarand, S. Ilani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The quantum crystal of electrons, predicted more than 80 years ago by Eugene Wigner, remains one of the most elusive states of matter. In this study, we observed the one-dimensional Wigner crystal directly by imaging its charge density in real space. To image, with minimal invasiveness, the many-body electronic density of a carbon nanotube, we used another nanotube as a scanning-charge perturbation. The images we obtained of a few electrons confined in one dimension match the theoretical predictions for strongly interacting crystals. The quantum nature of the crystal emerges in the observed collective tunneling through a potential barrier. These experiments provide the direct evidence for the formation of small Wigner crystals and open the way for studying other fragile interacting states by imaging their many-body density in real space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-875
Number of pages6
Issue number6443
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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