Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Electrons Always Find a (Quantum) Way

17.11.2015

Scientists from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Department of Physics at the University of Basel have demonstrated for the first time how electrons are transported from a superconductor through a quantum dot into a metal with normal conductivity. This transport process through a quantum dot had already been calculated theoretically in the nineties, but scientists at the University of Basel have now succeeded in proving the theory with measurements. They report on their findings in the scientific journal “Physical Review Letters”.

Transport properties such as electrical conductivity play an important role in technical applications of new materials and electronic components. Completely new phenomena occur, for example, when you combine a superconductor and nanometer-sized structures, known as quantum dots, in a component.


Transport process of electrons from a superconductor (S) through a quantum dot (QD) into a metal with normal conductivity (N).

Illustration: University of Basel, Department of Physics

Researchers at the University of Basel working under Professor Christian Schönenberger have now constructed such a quantum dot between a superconductor and a metal with normal conductivity to study electron transport between the two components.

It should in fact be impossible to transport electrons from the superconductor through a quantum dot at low energies. Firstly, electrons never occur on an individual basis in a superconductor but rather always in two's or in so-called Cooper pairs, which can only be separated by relatively large amounts of energy. Secondly, the quantum dot is so small that only one particle is transported at a time due to the repulsive force between electrons.

In the past, however, scientists have repeatedly observed that a current nonetheless runs between the superconductor and the metal – in other words, electron transport does occur through the quantum dot.

First evidence of the transport mechanism through a quantum dot

On the basis of quantum mechanics, theories were developed in the nineties which indicated that the transport of Cooper pairs through a quantum dot is entirely possible under certain conditions. The prerequisite is that the second electron follows the first very quickly, namely within the time roughly stipulated by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

The scientists at the University of Basel have now been able to accurately measure this phenomenon. In their experiments the scientists found the exact same discrete resonances that had been calculated theoretically. In addition, the team including doctoral student Jörg Gramich and his supervisor Dr. Andreas Baumgartner was able to provide evidence that the process also works when energy is emitted into the environment or absorbed from it.

“Our results contribute to a better understanding of the transport properties of superconducting electronic nanostructures, which are of great interest for quantum technology applications”, says Dr. Andreas Baumgartner.

Original source
J. Gramich, A. Baumgartner, and C. Schönenberger
Resonant and inelastic Andreev tunneling observed on a carbon nanotube quantum dot
Physical Review Letters 115, doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.216801

Further information
Dr. Andreas Baumgartner, University of Basel, Department of Physics, tel. +41 61 267 39 06, email: andreas.baumgartner@unibas.ch

Weitere Informationen:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.216801 - Abstract

Reto Caluori | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

nachricht Magnetic moment of a single antiproton determined with greatest precision ever
19.01.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>