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Like Fish on Waves: Electrons Go Surfing

Published: September 22, 2011.
By Ruhr-University Bochum

They were able to define two little quantum dots (QDs), occupied with electrons, in a semiconductor and to select a single electron from one of them using a sound wave, and then to transport it to the neighbouring QD. A single electron "surfs" thus from one quantum dot to the next like a fish on a wave. In semiconductors, this "fish density" is not as high and so the distance between the electrons (fish) is much larger. Targeted transport of individual electrons is possible in the following way: First, a QD is defined between the tips of four electrodes to form this zero-dimensional object, containing some hundred electrons.

The innovation: aligning the fish

It is not possible to differentiate between the electrons "fish", but they can be differently aligned because they rotate like little spinning tops. Wieck already published his vision of an electron directional coupler with two parallel one-dimensional channels, in which the electrons can skip from one to the other channel, 21 years ago.

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