The integer quantum Hall (QH) effects characterized by topologically quantized and nondissipative transport are caused by an electrically insulating incompressible phase that prevents backscattering between chiral metallic channels. We probed the incompressible area susceptible to the breakdown of topological protection using a scanning-gate technique incorporating nonequilibrium transport. The obtained pattern revealed the filling-factor- (ν-) dependent evolution of the microscopic incompressible structures located along the edge and in the bulk region. We found that these specific structures, respectively, attributed to the incompressible edge strip and bulk localization, show good agreement in terms of ν-dependent evolution with a calculation of the equilibrium QH incompressible phases, indicating the robustness of the QH incompressible phases under the nonequilibrium condition. Further, we found that the ν dependency of the incompressible patterns is, in turn, destroyed by a large imposed current during the deep QH effect breakdown. These results demonstrate the ability of our method to image the microscopic transport properties of a topological two-dimensional system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)