The group has developed a frequency to current converter, the accuracy of which is based on the known charge of an electron and the extreme accuracy in defining frequency. The nanodevice is essentially a single electron transistor which works as a simple single-electron turnstile. Its best performance is achieved at very low temperatures.
Previously, the electric current and its unit, the ampere, have been defined through the classical force induced to two parallel leads carrying the current. In the past years, many proposals and experiments have been put forward to achieve a relatively simple and accurate high-yield current source. No satisfying device has been implemented yet.
”The goal of our research has been to develop a reliable frequency to current converter since the frequency can be fixed with ultra high accuracy. It was interesting to observe that in this more than two decades old field, there is still room for simple inventions”, says professor Jukka Pekola, the leader of the PICO group at Low Temperature Laboratory.
In the experiments carried out at TKK in Micronova, the method was observed to work so well (see the figure) that the device can be regarded as one of the most potential candidates to realize a metrological current pump.
This device, which may revolutionize quantum metrology, works as follows: The turnstile is biased to a fixed dc voltage and its island is capacitively coupled to a sinusoidal gate voltage with frequency f. Thus the dc off-set and the amplitude of the gate drive determine exactly the number, n, of electrons passed through the device in each cycle, and hence the electric current. In this case, the current is defined to be nef, where e is the electron charge.
”At the moment, our work is focused on eliminating the remaining errors using advanced designs of the device and active error correction schemes”, tells Jukka Pekola with optimism.
The research is closely related to the so-called quantum metrological triangle experiment, in which the fundamental constants of nature e and h (Planck’s constant) are checked for consistency using the quantum standards of electric voltage, current, and resistance. These kinds of experiments are pursued in a couple of laboratories world wide, for example, at Otaniemi campus in the Center for Metrology and Accreditation in collaboration with Low Temperature Laboratory and VTT.
Electrons use the zebra crossing
17.12.2018 | Universität Stuttgart
Data storage using individual molecules
17.12.2018 | Universität Basel
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
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