Coulomb blockade in single tunnel-junctions: Quantum mechanical effects of the electromagnetic environment

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We discuss the interaction of a tunneling electron with its equilibrium electromagnetic environment. The environment of an isolated tunnel junction is modeled by a set of harmonic oscillators that are suddenly displaced when an electron tunnels across the junction. We treat these displaced oscillators quantum mechanically, predicting behavior that is very different than that predicted by a semiclassical treatment. In particular, the shape of the zero-bias anomaly caused by the Coulomb blockade (a single-electron charging effect), is found to be strongly dependent on the impedance, Z (ω), of the leads connected to the junction. Comparison with three recent experiments demonstrates that the quantum mechanical treatment of this model correctly describes the essential physics in these systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalZeitschrift für Physik B Condensed Matter
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)395-403
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1991

ID: 199596606