17 May '13, 9pm

Graphene Nanopump Zeroes in on the Perfect Ampere

Graphene Nanopump Zeroes in on the Perfect Ampere

Researchers use oscillating voltages to drive the current, but there are built-in challenges. Lower frequency pumps—metallic fixed-tunnel barrier systems and normal/superconducting hybrid turnstiles—work in the megahertz range. These can move only a few million electrons per second through the pump, and produce picoampere (pA) currents that are difficult to detect. Semiconductor-based tunable barrier pumps operate at gigahertz frequencies, producing a thousand times as much current—but electrons need some finite time to step from stepping stone to stepping stone. Like the backpackers trying to cross the stream too fast, the jostle and bump and some fall into the stream, disrupting the regular flow of current.

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/at-work/test-and-measu...

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