News FocusAMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY MEETING

Electrons Surf Sound Waves To Connect the Quantum Dots

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Science  08 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6026, pp. 170
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6026.170-a

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Summary

Physicists have found a way to transport individual electrons using sound waves. On a wafer of gallium arsenide, they laid out electrodes 4 micrometers apart that defined two quantum dots and also a channel between them. They also laid out a ladderlike electrode that, when charged, causes the gallium arsenide to contract, setting off a sound wave that ripples across the surface. The sound wave in turn produces a corrugated electric field that travels with it and can predictably pick up an electron from one dot and transfer it to the other. Literally surfing along at the speed of sound, the electron covers the distance between the dots in 1.5 nanoseconds, they reported at the American Physical Society meeting.