Coherence and Indistinguishability of Single Electrons Emitted by Independent Sources

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Science  01 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6123, pp. 1054-1057
DOI: 10.1126/science.1232572

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Interfering Single Electrons

Quantum information processing requires the generation of indistinguishable and coherent particles. While these have been demonstrated for photons, carrying it over for electrons and the possibility of quantum electronic implementations has been challenging. Using two independent single-electron sources patterned into a two-dimensional electron gas, Bocquillon et al. (p. 1054, published online 24 January; see the Perspective by Schönenberger) performed single-electron interference experiments. The results demonstrate that the generated electrons can possess the desired properties for potential quantum applications.


The on-demand emission of coherent and indistinguishable electrons by independent synchronized sources is a challenging task of quantum electronics, in particular regarding its application for quantum information processing. Using two independent on-demand electron sources, we triggered the emission of two single-electron wave packets at different inputs of an electronic beam splitter. Whereas classical particles would be randomly partitioned by the splitter, we observed two-particle interference resulting from quantum exchange. Both electrons, emitted in indistinguishable wave packets with synchronized arrival time on the splitter, exited in different outputs as recorded by the low-frequency current noise. The demonstration of two-electron interference provides the possibility of manipulating coherent and indistinguishable single-electron wave packets in quantum conductors.

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