An On-Demand Coherent Single-Electron Source

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Science  25 May 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5828, pp. 1169-1172
DOI: 10.1126/science.1141243

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We report on the electron analog of the single-photon gun. On-demand single-electron injection in a quantum conductor was obtained using a quantum dot connected to the conductor via a tunnel barrier. Electron emission was triggered by the application of a potential step that compensated for the dot-charging energy. Depending on the barrier transparency, the quantum emission time ranged from 0.1 to 10 nanoseconds. The single-electron source should prove useful for the use of quantum bits in ballistic conductors. Additionally, periodic sequences of single-electron emission and absorption generate a quantized alternating current.

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