Reading Electrons

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 08 October 2010
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Nature/Nature Publishing Group
thumbnail image: Reading Electrons

Silicon transistors continue to shrink to the size where quantum effects become important. Spin-based quantum computers could make use of these quantum effects if the spin state on an electron can be read accurately.

Andrea Morello and co-workers, University of New South Wales, Australia, have used spin-dependant tunneling to displace an electron to a location which was dependant on its spin state. A charge detector that was both electrostatically and tunnel-coupled to the electron site allowed accurate (> 90 %) and fast single-shot spin readouts.

The detector is compatible with current microelectronic technology as it is silicon-based. It consists of a silicon single-electron transistor with small regions of phosphorus donors implanted next to it.

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