Introducing Joint Research Project «Quantum Ampere» for the realisation of the new SI ampere
1 Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Bundesallee 100, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
2 National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Hampton Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 0LW, United Kingdom
3 SPSMS, UMR-E CEA/UJF-Grenoble 1, INAC, 38054 Grenoble, France
4 Centre for Metrology and Accreditation (MIKES), P.O. Box 9, 02151 Espoo, Finland
5 Laboratoire National de Métrologie et d’Essais (LNE), 29 avenue Roger Hennequin, F-78197 Trappes Cedex, France
6 Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, J. J. Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, United Kingdom
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Published online: 19 August 2014
The metrology community lately has adopted the long-term aim of basing the SI unit system on fundamental constants of nature. The base electrical unit, the ampere, will then be re-defined in terms of a fixed value of the elementary charge e. The most direct realization of the new ampere definition requires controlling the number of electrons which flow in a unit time interval, and of counting the errors occurring in this process of clocking single electrons. State of the art nanofabrication technology allows the fabrication of single-electron transport devices - known as single-electron pumps - which generate electric current by moving electrons one at a time. These devices are capable of delivering currents of about 100 pA with an accuracy at the 1 part per million level. Also, ultrasensitive single-electron detectors have been explored that allow electric charge detection on a resolution level below e. The European Joint Research Project presented here, undertaken by a consortium of several research institutes, aims at further developing the best existing concepts of single-electron pumps and to combine them with single-electron detectors for creating highly accurate quantum current sources, to be used as future current standards. Furthermore, necessary current measurement instrumentation will be developed. The paper comprises the project aims and the main results achieved so far.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.