Evidence for universality of tunable-barrier electron pumps

Stephen P. Giblin*, Akira Fujiwara, Gento Yamahata, Myung-Ho Bae, Nam Kim, Alessandro Rossi, Mikko Mottonen, Masaya Kataoka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


We review recent precision measurements on semiconductor tunable-barrier electron pumps operating in a ratchet mode. Seven studies on five different designs of pumps have reported measurements of the pump current with relative total uncertainties around 10(-6) or less. Combined with theoretical models of electron capture by the pumps, these experimental data exhibits encouraging evidence that the pumps operate according to a universal mechanism, independent of the details of device design. Evidence for robustness of the pump current against changes in the control parameters is at a more preliminary stage, but also encouraging, with two studies reporting robustness of the pump current against three or more parameters in the range of similar to 5 x 10(-7) to similar to 2 x 10(-6). This review highlights the need for an agreed protocol for tuning the electron pump for optimal operation, as well as more rigorous evaluations of the robustness in a wide range of pump designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044004
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • electron pumps
  • primary electrical metrology
  • current standards
  • current measurement

Cite this