We demonstrate both theoretically and experimentally two limiting factors in cooling electrons using biased tunnel junctions to extract heat from a normal metal into a superconductor. First, when the injection rate of electrons exceeds the internal relaxation rate in the metal to be cooled, the electrons do not obey the Fermi-Dirac distribution, and the concept of temperature cannot be applied as such. Second, at low bath temperatures, states within the gap induce anomalous heating and yield a theoretical limit of the achievable minimum temperature.
- cooling electron
- tunnel junction