An electron turnstile for frequency-to-power conversion

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Nature Nanotechnology
Single-electron transport relates an operation frequency f to the emitted current I through the electron charge e as I = ef (refs. 1–5). Similarly, direct frequency-to-power conversion (FPC) links both quantities through a known energy. FPC is a natural candidate for a power standard resorting to the most basic definition of the watt: energy emitted per unit of time. The energy is traceable to Planck’s constant and the time is in turn traceable to the unperturbed ground state hyperfine transition frequency of the caesium 133 atom. Hence, FPC comprises a simple and elegant way to realize the watt6. In this spirit, single-photon emission7,8 and detection9 at known rates have been proposed as radiometric standards and experimentally realized10–14. However, power standards are so far only traceable to electrical units, that is, to the volt and the ohm6,15–17. In this Letter, we demonstrate an alternative proposal based on solid-state direct FPC using a hybrid single-electron transistor (SET). The SET injects n (integer) quasi-particles (QPs) per cycle into the two superconducting leads with discrete energies close to their superconducting gap Δ, even at zero source-drain voltage. Furthermore, the application of a bias voltage can vary the distribution of the power among the two leads, allowing for an almost equal power injection nΔf into the two. While in single-electron transport current is related to a fixed universal constant (e), in our approach Δ is a material-dependent quantity. We estimate that under optimized conditions errors can be well below 1%.
| openaire: EC/H2020/742559/EU//SQH
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Marín-Suárez , M , Peltonen , J T , Golubev , D S & Pekola , J P 2022 , ' An electron turnstile for frequency-to-power conversion ' , Nature Nanotechnology , vol. 17 , no. 3 , pp. 239-243 .