Coulomb blockade

This sequence of sharp peaks is a hallmark of single electron transport: in between the peaks current is shut down because electrons cannot overcome the capacitive energy associated with placing a single electron on a conducting island. At the peak the current flows again because the cost of having N and N+1 electrons on the island is equal.


In this case this so-called Coulomb blockade was obtained in a nanowire device contacted by two electrodes and tuned by an electrostatic gate, for which purpose the silicon substrate was used. This is one of the first low temperature measurements performed in our new lab in Pittsburgh.