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June 16th, 2006
Quantum dot device counts single electrons
A device capable of counting the individual electrons in an electric current, by feeding them through a pair of quantum dots, has been developed by scientists in Japan. The device can even spot the "backscattering" that occurs when electrons travel the wrong way through a circuit.
Toshima Fujisawa and colleagues at NTT Basic Research Laboratories in Atsugi, Japan, created a circuit incorporating a two quantum dots - semiconducting crystals just a few nanometres in diameter - which only let a single electron pass through at a time.
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