Single-electron current sources: Toward a refined definition of the ampere

Jukka P. Pekola (Corresponding Author), Olli-Pentti Saira, Ville F. Maisi, Antti Kemppinen, Mikko Möttönen, Yuri A. Pashkin, Dmitri V. Averin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    276 Citations (Scopus)


    The control of electrons at the level of the elementary charge e was demonstrated experimentally already in the 1980s. Ever since, the production of an electrical current ef, or its integer multiple, at a drive frequency f has been a focus of research for metrological purposes. This review discusses the generic physical phenomena and technical constraints that influence single-electron charge transport and presents a broad variety of proposed realizations. Some of them have already proven experimentally to nearly fulfill the demanding needs, in terms of transfer errors and transfer rate, of quantum metrology of electrical quantities, whereas some others are currently “just” wild ideas, still often potentially competitive if technical constraints can be lifted. The important issues of readout of single-electron events and potential error correction schemes based on them are also discussed. Finally, an account is given of the status of single-electron current sources in the bigger framework of electric quantum standards and of the future international SI system of units, and applications and uses of single-electron devices outside the metrological context are briefly discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1421
    JournalReviews of Modern Physics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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