Coherent and incoherent pumping of electrons in double quantum dots

Research paper by B. L. Hazelzet, M. R. Wegewijs, T. H. Stoof, Yu. V. Nazarov

Indexed on: 15 Dec '00Published on: 15 Dec '00Published in: Physics - Mesoscopic Systems and Quantum Hall Effect


We propose a new mode of operation of an electron pump consisting of two weakly coupled quantum dots connected to reservoirs. An electron can be transferred within the device at zero bias voltage when it is subjected to electromagnetic radiation, thereby exciting the double dot. The excited state can decay by transferring charge from one lead and to the other lead in one direction. Depending on the energies of the intermediate states in the pumping cycle, which are controlled by the gate voltages, this transport is either incoherent via well-known sequential tunneling processes, or coherent via a inelastic co-tunneling process. The latter novel mode of operation is possible only when interdot Coulomb charging is important. The D.C. transport through the system can be controlled by the frequency of the applied radiation. We concentrate on the resonant case, when the frequency matches the energy difference for exciting an electron from one dot into the other. The resonant peaks in the pumping current should be experimentally observable. We have developed a density matrix approach which describes the dynamics of the system on timescales much larger than the period of the applied irradiation. In contrast to previous works we additionally consider the case of slow modulation of the irradiation amplitude. Harmonic modulation produces additional sidepeaks in the photoresponse, and pulsed modulation can be used to resolve the Rabi frequency in the time-averaged current.