The Radio-Frequency Single-Electron Transistor (RF-SET): A Fast and Ultrasensitive Electrometer

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Science  22 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5367, pp. 1238-1242
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5367.1238

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A new type of electrometer is described that uses a single-electron transistor (SET) and that allows large operating speeds and extremely high charge sensitivity. The SET readout was accomplished by measuring the damping of a 1.7-gigahertz resonant circuit in which the device is embedded, and in some ways is the electrostatic “dual” of the well-known radio-frequency superconducting quantum interference device. The device is more than two orders of magnitude faster than previous single-electron devices, with a constant gain from dc to greater than 100 megahertz. For a still-unoptimized device, a charge sensitivity of 1.2 × 10−5 e/hertz was obtained at a frequency of 1.1 megahertz, which is about an order of magnitude better than a typical, 1/f-noise-limited SET, and corresponds to an energy sensitivity (in joules per hertz) of about 41 ℏ︀.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: rob.schoelkopf{at}

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