Bifurcations and chaos in semiconductor superlattices with a tilted magnetic field

We study the effects of dissipation on electron transport in a semiconductor superlattice with an applied bias voltage and a magnetic field that is tilted relative to the superlattice axis. In previous work, we showed that, although the applied fields are stationary, they act like a terahertz plane wave, which strongly couples the Bloch and cyclotron motion of electrons within the lowest miniband. As a consequence, the electrons exhibit a unique type of Hamiltonian chaos, which creates an intricate mesh of conduction channels (a stochastic web) in phase space, leading to a large resonant increase in the current flow at critical values of the applied voltage. This phase-space patterning provides a sensitive mechanism for controlling electrical resistance. In this paper, we investigate the effects of dissipation on the electron dynamics by modifying the semiclassical equations of motion to include a linear damping term. We demonstrate that, even in the presence of dissipation, deterministic chaos plays an important role in the electron transport process. We identify mechanisms for the onset of chaos and explore the associated sequence of bifurcations in the electron trajectories. When the Bloch and cyclotron frequencies are commensurate, complex multistability phenomena occur in the system. In particular, for fixed values of the control parameters several distinct stable regimes can coexist, each corresponding to different initial conditions. We show that this multistability has clear, experimentally observable, signatures in the electron transport characteristics.