Do Electrons in a Metal have the Same Charge as Free Electrons in Vacuum?
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 – 3:15pm
Single electron tunneling (SET) devices, based on the Coulomb blockade, offer us the amazing ability to move electrons one-by-one. We can use this ability to measure the average charge of these particles, by pumping them one-by-one onto the plate of a capacitor and measuring the cumulative voltage. Using the definition of capacitance and the voltage measurement, we can then answer the question posed in the title. I will start the talk with a reminder about the system of electrical standards used in the industrialized world, introduce the basics of SET devices, describe the basic experiment that we performed to measure the charge, and discuss theoretical implications of our results.