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Charge and momentum in quantum electromechanical systems

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Physics - Electronics And Electricity
  • Physics


We address theoretical questions in quantum nanoelectromechanical systems. These are systems where a mechanical oscillator is coupled to a conductor in which single electrons or the quantum coherence of electrons plays an important role. The interplay of quantum electronics with the motion of a relatively macroscopic object provides a way to probe both the mechanics and the electronics with extraordinary sensitivity. We address three problems based on monitoring either the electronic or mechanical component to measure quantum properties of the coupled system. First, we study the full charge transfer statistics and correlations in a tunnel junction coupled to a mechanical oscillator, viewing the current measured through the junction as a detector of the oscillator position. We find several surprising results that are not obtained in a study of only the average and variance of tunneled charge. Even when the oscillator is weakly coupled to the tunnel junction, it can lead to highly non-Gaussian tunneling statistics; moreover, non-Gaussian correlations between the oscillator motion and transferred charge show that the backaction of tunneling electrons on the oscillator cannot be fully described as coupling the oscillator to an effective thermal bath. Second, we use a general scattering approach to study the backaction of a quantum point contact position detector on a mechanical oscillator. Our results remain valid far from the tunneling limit, an important experimental regime and where previous calculations of backaction break down. We obtain the backaction damping and heating directly in terms of the scattering matrix, and find that not only the transmission but also the scattering phases play an important role. Finally, we study a quantum dot capacitively coupled to an oscillating cantilever. In this case, the damping of the mechanical oscillator is monitored to measure quantum electronic properties of the dot. For weak electromechanical coupling, we f

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