Low-Noise Current Amplifier Based on Mesoscopic Josephson Junction

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Science  14 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5609, pp. 1045-1048
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5609.1045

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We used the band structure of a mesoscopic Josephson junction to construct low-noise amplifiers. By taking advantage of the quantum dynamics of a Josephson junction, i.e., the interplay of interlevel transitions and the Coulomb blockade of Cooper pairs, we created transistor-like devices, Bloch oscillating transistors, with considerable current gain and high-input impedance. In these transistors, the correlated supercurrent of Cooper pairs is controlled by a small base current made up of single electrons. Our devices reached current and power gains on the order of 30 and 5, respectively. The noise temperature was estimated to be around 1 kelvin, but noise temperatures of less than 0.1 kelvin can be realistically achieved. These devices provide quantum-electronic building blocks that will be useful at low temperatures in low-noise circuit applications with an intermediate impedance level.

  • * Present address: High Magnetic Field Laboratory, LCMI/CNRS BP 166, F-38042 Grenoble, France.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: pertti.hakonen{at}

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