Observation of Single-Electron Charging in Double-Barrier Heterostructures

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Science  17 Jan 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5042, pp. 313-315
DOI: 10.1126/science.255.5042.313


Incremental single-electron charging of size-quantized states has been observed in the well in submicrometer double-barrier resonant tunneling devices. In order to distinguish between the effects of size quantization and the single-electron charging, the heterostructure material was grown asymmetrical so that one barrier is substantially less transparent than the other. In the voltage polarity such that the emitter barrier is more transparent than the collector barrier, electrons accumulate in the well; incremental electron occupation of the well is accompanied by Coulomb blockade, which leads to sharp steps of the tunneling current. In the opposite voltage polarity the emitter barrier is less transparent than the collector barrier and the tunneling current reflects resonant tunneling through size-quantized well states.