As conductors in electronic applications shrink, microscopic conduction processes lead to strong deviations from Ohm's law. Depending on the length scales of momentum conserving (lMC) and relaxing (lMR) electron scattering, and the device size (d), current flows may shift from ohmic to ballistic to hydrodynamic regimes and more exotic mixtures thereof. So far, an in situ, in-operando methodology to obtain these parameters self-consistently within a micro/nanodevice, and thereby identify its conduction regime, is critically lacking. In this context, we exploit Sondheimer oscillations, semi-classical magnetoresistance oscillations due to helical electronic motion, as a method to obtain lMR in micro-devices even when lMR≫d. This gives information on the bulk lMR complementary to quantum oscillations, which are sensitive to all scattering processes. We extract lMR from the Sondheimer amplitude in the topological semi-metal WP2, at elevated temperatures up to T∼50 K, in a range most relevant for hydrodynamic transport phenomena. Our data on micrometer-sized devices are in excellent agreement with experimental reports of the large bulk lMR and thus confirm that WP2 can be microfabricated without degradation. Indeed, the measured scattering rates match well with those of theoretically predicted electron-phonon scattering, thus supporting the notion of strong momentum exchange between electrons and phonons in WP2 at these temperatures. These results conclusively establish Sondheimer oscillations as a quantitative probe of lMR in micro-devices in studying non-ohmic electron flow.

Last updated on 08/10/2021