We present two approaches for studying the uniformity of a tunnel barrier. The first approach is based on measuring single-electron and two-electron tunneling in a hybrid single-electron transistor. Our measurements indicate that the effective area of a conduction channel is about one order of magnitude larger than predicted by theoretical calculations. With the second method, transmission electron microscopy, we demonstrate that variations in the barrier thickness are a plausible explanation for the larger effective area and an enhancement of higher order tunneling processes.
- tunnel junctions