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Paul Clapera

Quantified current generation by silicon devices for quantum metrology

Published on 18 September 2015
Thesis presented September 18, 2015

Electrons pumps have been extensively studied and manufactured by the scientific world. They generate a DC current proportional to a frequency very well controlled metrology. In this metrological context, the various principles and materials such as GaAs or Silicon pump or the superconducting turnstile have shown great progress. Although the generated level of currents are always higher and accurate, the requirements for the metrology are difficult to meet and for now no electron pump can be used for the realisation of the future quantum ampere that will probably be defined in a few years. Moreover, researchers have created circuits involving transistors FETs (field effect transistors) and transistors SETs (single-electron transistors), particularly to the purpose of a low consumption electronic. This thesis makes a further contribution in both areas: a new silicon electron pump was developed and co-integration of conventional CMOS circuit with a quantum nanoelectronics device was demonstrated. Our electron pump is based on the principle of two tunable tunnel barriers and a central island. Through the modulation of the barriers at the frequency f, the electrostatic charge of the central island is controlled, a direct current I = ef is generated; and this even with a zero voltage bias across the pump. Our electron pumps use the nanowire technology silicon-on-insulator developed by CEA-LETI. The nanowire is covered with two gates (two MOSFETs in series) as adjustable barriers, and a small metallic Coulomb island is "isolated" between these two transistors. Our samples at 100mK demonstrated that we were able to control the quantum island charge state adiabatically and generated quantified currents up to 900MHz. We also produced the first electron pumps only achieved by optical lithography, with a maximum pumping frequency of 300MHz. Our large scale SETs manufacturing technology is based on the extreme size shrinking. These techniques have rarely been coupled with conventional CMOS circuits, when operating at low temperature. The interest of such co-integration is strong in the field of the quantum information: the establishment of many coupled qubits may require "additional" circuits made with classic CMOS but in cryogenic environnement. We designed and fabricated with the LETI-DACLE a co-integration of an oscillating circuit composed of large FETs circuit and a circuit made of nanoscopic SETs. A test circuit comprising an electron pump driven on chip by an oscillating circuit was created and measured at low temperature. Our results show that the oscillating circuit based on ring oscillators for 300K applications remain functional up to 1K, despite a very slight decay in the oscillation frequency. In parallel, by measuring a rectification current on the nanoscale device we demonstrated that cohabitation between FET circuit and SET was realistic and makes possible to imagine a complex circuit to achieve an electron pump and its electronic embedded on a single chip. The electron pump design by the approach of SOI technology has demonstrated its viability, potentially our devices are equivalent versus the best pumps created so far. The advantage of silicon and modern manufacturing techniques have proved that was possible to create complex circuits combining FET and SET for applications involving quantum phenomena. This work shows the promising nature of the co-integration circuits and opens the way for further investigation in the implementation of silicon electron pumps.

Pump, Silicon, Electron, Ampere, Quantum metrology

On-line thesis.