The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Tunnel Junction Devices for Quantum Metrology

Antti Kemppinen

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Information and Natural Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium AS1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 16th of October, 2009, at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-5610-54-3)   [4965 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-5610-53-6)


This Thesis studies opportunities to create a quantum standard for the electric current with the help of tunnel junctions. We use two types of tunnel junctions: superconducting Josephson junctions, and NIS junctions where one of the electrodes is normal (N) and the other one superconducting (S). In both cases, tunnel junctions are employed in a single-electron transistor (SET) structure, which is used to transfer a controlled number k of electrons (e) with the repetition frequency f. The magnitude of the resulting current is thus I = kef.

First, we study the Cooper pair sluice, where Josephson junctions are connected as two superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUID). A gate electrode is used to control the charge state of the superconducting island formed between the SQUIDs. The sluice is based on tuning the tunneling rates through the SQUIDs with local magnetic fluxes, which allows to control the direction of the charge transfer. Weak traces of current quantization can be observed up to above 1 nA, which is large enough current for many metrological purposes. However, the accuracy of the current is still far from what is required in metrology. We study also a new type of SQUID structure, the balanced SQUID, which could be used to improve the accuracy of the sluice or in, e.g., some quantum computing applications.

Second, we employ NIS junctions in the hybrid (SINIS) single-electron transistor with superconducting leads and a normal-metal island. This structure can be used as the SINIS turnstile which lets electrons to flow one by one in the direction determined by the bias voltage. We report the first experimental results on the SINIS turnstile and two methods to improve the accuracy of the current: increasing the charging energy of the island or connecting the turnstile in a resistive environment. We also show that the SINIS turnstile can be used as an electronic radio-frequency refrigerator where tunneling processes cool the electron temperature of the normal-metal island.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 6 publications:

  1. Juha J. Vartiainen, Mikko Möttönen, Jukka P. Pekola, and Antti Kemppinen. 2007. Nanoampere pumping of Cooper pairs. Applied Physics Letters, volume 90, number 8, 082102. © 2007 American Institute of Physics. By permission.
  2. Antti Kemppinen, Antti J. Manninen, Mikko Möttönen, Juha J. Vartiainen, Joonas T. Peltonen, and Jukka P. Pekola. 2008. Suppression of the critical current of a balanced superconducting quantum interference device. Applied Physics Letters, volume 92, number 5, 052110. © 2008 American Institute of Physics. By permission.
  3. A. Kemppinen, M. Meschke, M. Möttönen, D. V. Averin, and J. P. Pekola. 2009. Quantized current of a hybrid single-electron transistor with superconducting leads and a normal-metal island. In: F. Piquemal and B. Jeckelmann (editors). Quantum Metrology and Fundamental Constants. Springer. The European Physical Journal - Special Topics, volume 172, number 1, pages 311-321.
  4. A. Kemppinen, S. Kafanov, Yu. A. Pashkin, J. S. Tsai, D. V. Averin, and J. P. Pekola. 2009. Experimental investigation of hybrid single-electron turnstiles with high charging energy. Applied Physics Letters, volume 94, number 17, 172108. © 2009 American Institute of Physics. By permission.
  5. S. Kafanov, A. Kemppinen, Yu. A. Pashkin, M. Meschke, J. S. Tsai, and J. P. Pekola. 2009. Single-electronic radio-frequency refrigerator. Physical Review Letters, volume 103, number 12, 120801. © 2009 American Physical Society. By permission.
  6. S. V. Lotkhov, A. Kemppinen, S. Kafanov, J. P. Pekola, and A. B. Zorin. 2009. Pumping properties of the hybrid single-electron transistor in dissipative environment. Applied Physics Letters, volume 95, number 11, 112507. © 2009 American Institute of Physics. By permission.

Keywords: quantum metrology, tunnel junctions, single-electron transistor, superconductivity, electronic refrigeration

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© 2009 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26