SINGLE ELECTRON TRANSISTOR IN PURE SILICON

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2009

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Abstract

As promising candidates for spin qubits, semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have attracted tremendous research efforts. Currently most advanced progress is from GaAs QDs. Compared to GaAs, lateral QDs in 28silicon are expected to have a spin coherence time orders of magnitude longer, because 28Si has zero nuclear spin, and there is no hyperfine interaction between electron spins and nuclear spins.

We have developed enhancement mode metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) single electron transistors (SETs) using pure silicon wafers with a bi-layer gated configuration. In an MOS-SET, the top gate is used to induce a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG), just as in an MOS field effect transistor. The side gates deplete the 2DEG into a QD and two point contact channels; one connects the QD to the source reservoir, and the other connects the QD to the drain reservoir.

We have systematically investigated the MOS-SETs at 4.2 K, and separately in a dilution refrigerator with a base temperature of 10 mK. The data show that there is an intrinsic QD in each point contact channel due to the local potential fluctuations in these SETs. However, after scaling down the SETs, we have found that the intrinsic QDs can be removed and the electrostatically defined dots dominate the device behavior, but these devices currently only work in the many-electron regime. In order to realize single electron confinement, it is necessary to continue scaling down the device and improving the interface quality.

To explore the spin dynamics in silicon, we have investigated a single intrinsic QD by applying a magnetic field perpendicular to the sample surface. The magnetic field dependence of the ground-state and excited-state energy levels of the QD mostly can be explained by the Zeeman effect, with no obvious orbital effect up to 9 T. The two-electron singlet-triplet (ST) transition is first time directly observed in a silicon QD by excitation spectroscopy. In this ST transition, electron-electron Coulomb interaction plays a significant role. The observed amplitude spectrum suggests the spin blockade effect. When the two-electron system forms a singlet state in the dot at low fields, and the injection current from the lead becomes spin-down polarized, the tunneling conductance is reduced by a factor of 8. At higher magnetic fields, due to the ST transition, the spin blockade effect is lifted and the conductance is fully recovered.

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