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      Multi-island single-electron devices from self-assembled colloidal nanocrystal chains

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          Abstract

          We report the fabrication of multi-island single-electron devices made by lithographic contacting of self-assembled alkanethiol-coated gold nanocrystals. The advantages of this method, which bridges the dimensional gap between lithographic and NC sizes, are (1) that all tunnel junctions are defined by self-assembly rather than lithography and (2) that the ratio of gate capacitance to total capacitance is high. The rich electronic behavior of a double-island device, measured at 4.2 K, is predicted in detail by combining finite element and Monte Carlo simulations with the standard theory of Coulomb blockade with very few adjustable parameters.

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          Current measurement by real-time counting of single electrons

          The fact that electrical current is carried by individual charges has been known for over 100 years, yet this discreteness has not been directly observed so far. Almost all current measurements involve measuring the voltage drop across a resistor, using Ohm's law, in which the discrete nature of charge does not come into play. However, by sending a direct current through a microelectronic circuit with a chain of islands connected by small tunnel junctions, the individual electrons can be observed one by one. The quantum mechanical tunnelling of single charges in this one-dimensional array is time correlated, and consequently the detected signal has the average frequency f=I/e, where I is the current and e is the electron charge. Here we report a direct observation of these time-correlated single-electron tunnelling oscillations, and show electron counting in the range 5 fA-1 pA. This represents a fundamentally new way to measure extremely small currents, without offset or drift. Moreover, our current measurement, which is based on electron counting, is self-calibrated, as the measured frequency is related to the current only by a natural constant.
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            Single electron transistor using a molecularly linked gold colloidal particle chain

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              Author and article information

              Journal
              15 August 2005
              Article
              10.1063/1.2189012
              cond-mat/0508364
              Custom metadata
              Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 143507 (2006)
              4 pages
              cond-mat.other

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