Trapping single electrons on liquid helium

P. Glasson, G. Papageorgiou, K. Harrabi, D. G. Rees, V. Antonov, E. Collin, P. Fozooni, P. G. Frayne, Y. Mukharsky, M. J. Lea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Surface-state electrons on liquid helium, localised in quantum dots, have been proposed as condensed matter qubits. We now demonstrate experimentally that small numbers of electrons, including a single isolated electron, can be held in a novel electrostatic trap above the surface of superfluid helium. A potential well is created using microfabricated electrodes in a 5 μm diameter pool of helium. Electrons are injected into the trap from an electron reservoir on a helium microchannel. They are individually detected using a superconducting single-electron transistor (SET) as an electrometer. A Coulomb staircase is observed as electrons leave the trap one-by-one until the trap is empty. A design for a prototype quantum information processor using an array of electron traps on liquid helium is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1539-1543
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids
Issue number8-9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • A. Quantum wells
  • A. Surfaces
  • D. Electronic structure
  • D. Surface properties


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