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Moeckel, Michael J.; Southworth, Darren R.; Weig, Eva M. and Marquardt, Florian (2014): Synchronizing a single-electron shuttle to an external drive. In: New Journal of Physics, Vol. 16, 043009 [PDF, 592kB]


The nanomechanical single-electron shuttle is a resonant system in which a suspended metallic island oscillates between and impacts at two electrodes. This setup holds promise for one-by-one electron transport and the establishment of an absolute current standard. While the charge transported per oscillation by the nanoscale island will be quantized in the Coulomb blockade regime, the frequency of such a shuttle depends sensitively on many parameters, leading to drift and noise. Instead of considering the nonlinearities introduced by the impact events as a nuisance, here we propose to exploit the resulting nonlinear dynamics to realize a highly precise oscillation frequency via synchronization of the shuttle self-oscillations to an external signal. We link the established phenomenological description of synchronization based on the A(DLER) equation to the microscopic nonlinear dynamics of the electron shuttle by calculating the effective ADLER constant analytically in terms of the microscopic parameters.

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