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Persistent Currents in Normal Metal Rings

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Science  09 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5950, pp. 272-275
DOI: 10.1126/science.1178139

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Abstract

Quantum mechanics predicts that the equilibrium state of a resistive metal ring will contain a dissipationless current. This persistent current has been the focus of considerable theoretical and experimental work, but its basic properties remain a topic of controversy. The main experimental challenges in studying persistent currents have been the small signals they produce and their exceptional sensitivity to their environment. We have developed a technique for detecting persistent currents that allows us to measure the persistent current in metal rings over a wide range of temperatures, ring sizes, and magnetic fields. Measurements of both a single ring and arrays of rings agree well with calculations based on a model of non-interacting electrons.

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