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Electron counting in quantum dots


We use time-resolved charge detection techniques to investigate single-electron tunneling in semiconductor quantum dots. The ability to detect individual charges in real-time makes it possible to count electrons one-by-one as they pass through the structure. The setup can thus be used as a high-precision current meter for measuring ultra-low currents, with resolution several orders of magnitude better than that of conventional current meters. In addition to measuring the average current, the counting procedure also makes it possible to investigate correlations between charge carriers. Electron correlations are conventionally probed in noise measurements, which are technically challenging due to the difficulty to exclude the influence of external noise sources in the experimental setup. Using real-time charge detection techniques, we circumvent the problem by studying the electron correlation directly from the counting statistics of the tunneling electrons. In quantum dots, we find that the strong Coulomb interaction makes electrons try to avoid each other. This leads to electron anti-bunching, giving stronger correlations and reduced noise compared to a current carried by statistically independent electrons.rnThe charge detector is implemented by monitoring changes in conductance in a nearby capacitively coupled quantum point contact. We find that the quantum point contact not only serves as a detector but also causes a back-action onto the measured device. Electron scattering in the quantum point contact leads to emission of microwave radiation. The radiation is found to induce an electronic transition between two quantum dots, similar to the absorption of light in real atoms and molecules. Using a charge detector to probe the electron transitions, we can relate a single-electron tunneling event to the absorption of a single photon. Moreover, since the energy levels of the double quantum dot can be tuned by external gate voltages, we use the device as a frequency-selective single-photon detector operating at microwave energies. The ability to put an on-chip microwave detector close to a quantum conductor opens up the possibility to investigate radiation emitted from mesoscopic structures and gives a deeper understanding of the role of electron-photon interactions in quantum conductors.rnA central concept of quantum mechanics is the wave-particle duality, matter exhibits both wave-and particle-like properties and cannot be described by either formalism alone. To investigate the wave properties of the electrons, we perform experiments on a structure containing a double quantum dot embedded in the Aharonov-Bohm ring interferometer. Aharonov-Bohm rings are traditionally used to study interference of electron waves traversing different arms of the ring, in a similar way to the double-slit setup used for investigating interference of light waves. In our case, we use the time-resolved charge detection techniques to detect electrons one-by-one as they pass through the interferometer. We find that the individual particles indeed self-interfere and give rise to a strong interference pattern as a function of external magnetic field. The high level of control in the system together with the ability to detect single electrons enables us to make direct observations of non-intuitive fundamental quantum phenomena like single-particle interference or time-energy uncertainty relations.......

【作者名称】: S. Gustavsson, R. Leturcq, M. Studer, I. Shorubalko, T. Ihn, K. Ensslin
【作者单位】: Solid State Physics Laboratory, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland, Solid State Physics Laboratory, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland, Solid State Physics Laboratory, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland, Solid State Physics Laboratory, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland, Solid State Physics Laboratory, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland, Solid State Physics Laboratory, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland
【关 键 词】: current fluctuations, coulomb blockade, semiconductor quantum dots, gallium arsenide, III-V semiconductors, photon-electron interactions
【期刊名称】: Surface Science Reports
【期刊论文数据库】: [DBS_Articles_01]
【期刊论文编号】: 107,448,723
【摘要长度】: 3,431
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