TERC3 - Tremplin-ERC

Fundamental Thermoelectricity with Mesoscopic Circuits – FunTheme

Submission summary

It is now well established that the amplitude of the electric conductance is set by fundamental constants. Its natural unit is the ratio of the square of the elementary charge to the Planck constant, and is known as the quantum of conductance. When charge flows in a mesoscopic system, electric conductance does not take arbitrary magnitudes. It is quantized in its natural unit, reflecting Landauer’s insight that conduction is a transmission. Thermal and thermoelectric conductances are also quantized in natural units. Both have natural units expressed as combinations of fundamental constants of nature. Until today, however, no experiment has demonstrated that thermoelectric transport is quantized in terms of its natural units.
We propose to develop a versatile architecture for measuring the absolute magnitude of thermo-electric transport coefficients of a mesoscopic system. We will use state-of-the-art tools of mesoscopic circuits that have been developed to precisely control and measure electron degrees of, such as quantum point contacts and quantum dots, in a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) based on a semiconductor heterostructure. A key aspect of the design will be the use of in-situ primary thermometers that directly access the Fermi-Dirac distribution to precisely measure the thermal gradient. The first aim is to measure the quantum of thermoelectric response of an ideal quantum conductor, a quantum point contact, as has been previously done for electrical and thermal conductances. The proposed device architecture will open a new window to investigate quantum thermodynamics (which emerges when quantum fluctuations are comparable to thermal fluctuations) in systems with a high degree of control and down to the level of single electrons.

Project coordination

MATTHIEU DELBECQ (Laboratoire Pierre Aigrain)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LPA Laboratoire Pierre Aigrain

Help of the ANR 147,420 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2017 - 18 Months

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