Zeitschrift für Physik B Condensed Matter

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 327–332 | Cite as

Direct observation of macroscopic charge quantization

  • P. Lafarge
  • H. Pothier
  • E. R. Williams
  • D. Esteve
  • C. Urbina
  • M. H. Devoret


The circuit formed by a nanoscale tunnel junction in series with a capacitance and a voltage source is the building block of most multi-junction circuits of single electronics. The state of this “single electron box” is entirely determined by the numbern of extra electrons on the intermediate “island” electrode between the junction and the capacitance. We have fabricated such a system and measured the charge on the junction capacitance, which is directly related to the average value ofn, as a function of the bias voltage using a Fulton-Dolan electrometer. At low temperature, the junction charge followed thee-periodic sawtooth function expected from the theory of macroscopic charge quantization. Strikingly,e-periodic variations were also observed when the box was superconducting. The thermal rounding of the sawtooth function is well explained by a simple model, except at the lowest temperatures.


Spectroscopy Neural Network State Physics Complex System Simple Model 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Lafarge
    • 1
  • H. Pothier
    • 1
  • E. R. Williams
    • 1
  • D. Esteve
    • 1
  • C. Urbina
    • 1
  • M. H. Devoret
    • 1
  1. 1.Service de Physique de l'Etat CondenséCentre d'Etudes de SaclayGif-sur-Yvette CedexFrance

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