Evidence for universality of tunable-barrier electron pumps

Stephen P. Giblin, Akira Fujiwara, Gento Yamahata, Myung-Ho Bae, Nam Kim, Alessandro Rossi, Mikko Möttönen, Masaya Kataoka

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We review recent precision measurements on semiconductor tunable-barrier electron pumps operating in a ratchet mode. Seven studies on five different designs of pumps have reported measurements of the pump current with relative total uncertainties around 10-6 or less. Combined with theoretical models of electron capture by the pumps, these experimental data exhibits encouraging evidence that the pumps operate according to a universal mechanism, independent of the details of device design. Evidence for robustness of the pump current against changes in the control parameters is at a more preliminary stage, but also encouraging, with two studies reporting robustness of the pump current against three or more parameters in the range of ∼5 × 10-7 to ∼2 × 10-6. This review highlights the need for an agreed protocol for tuning the electron pump for optimal operation, as well as more rigorous evaluations of the robustness in a wide range of pump designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044004
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2019


  • current measurement
  • current standards
  • electron pumps
  • primary electrical metrology

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    Giblin, S. P., Fujiwara, A., Yamahata, G., Bae, M-H., Kim, N., Rossi, A., Möttönen, M., & Kataoka, M. (2019). Evidence for universality of tunable-barrier electron pumps. Metrologia, 56(4), [044004]. https://doi.org/10.1088/1681-7575/ab29a5