A recent paper titled “Multiple electron pumping” showcases a remarkable breakthrough achieved by researchers in the NanoElectronics laboratory, Africa's coldest facility. The study highlights a new capability to pump a multiple integer number of single electrons per cycle with unprecedented accuracy and fidelity, surpassing previous limitations in on-demand single electron sources.
Enhanced Electron Manipulation
Previous pumping mechanisms faced challenges in maintaining quantisation of measured current when pumping more than one electron per cycle. However, through extensive research efforts, the group demonstrated the ability to move as many as seven individual electrons per cycle with remarkable precision and reproducibility.
This groundbreaking achievement was made possible in the NanoElectronics laboratory utilizing a cryogen-free 3He/4He dilution fridge, renowned for its cooling power and temperature control capabilities. The researchers employed cleanroom techniques akin to semiconductor chip fabrication to fabricate electron pumps at the nano scale. These pumps, capable of isolating, capturing, and manipulating individual electrons, operate at 30 mK, making them colder than the coldest known naturally occurring place in the universe.
Significance of Electron Manipulation
Electrons, regarded as dimensionless point particles, pose significant challenges due to their repulsive nature. Manipulating them reliably and reproducibly is a considerable feat. The ability to move multiple electrons with such precision opens new avenues in quantum metrology, quantum cryptography, quantum computing, and quantum information processing.
The research paves the way for the development of a new standard for electrical current in quantum metrology. Additionally, it enables advancements in quantum cryptography, leveraging the quantum nature of particles for secure communication. Moreover, the technique holds promise for quantum computing and quantum information processing, where a tunable on-demand source of single electrons is imperative.
Future Prospects and Collaboration
Associate Professor Blumenthal emphasizes the collaborative effort and multidisciplinary expertise involved in this achievement. The breakthrough not only propels the field of quantum nano electronics forward but also provides local students and researchers in South Africa with the opportunity to actively engage in cutting-edge research.
This pioneering work marks a significant milestone in the manipulation of electrons, setting a new standard for precision and control in quantum technology.