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Colloquium: Sisyphus pumping of a single electron

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Jason Petta, Princeton University
23 February 2017 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
117 Osmond Laboratory
Contact Name
Moses Chan
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Sisyphus is a famous character in Greek mythology who has been punished for chronic deceitfulness. His punishment is to eternally push a boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down on him. I will describe two quantum optics experiments involving semiconductor quantum dots, which are nanoscale systems that allow single electrons to be confined in three spatial dimensions. First, we have demonstrated a new type of maser that is driven by single electron tunneling events. Semiconductor double quantum dots serve as a gain medium and are placed inside of a high quality factor microwave cavity. Maser action is verified by comparing the statistics of the emitted microwave field above and below the maser threshold. Second, we demonstrate a Sisyphus light source. In analogy with Sisyphus, a single electron is repeatedly pushed uphill in energy, only to relax to the ground state by emitting a microwave frequency photon. Since the device controls one and the same electron, photons are emitted in the absence of a dc current.