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OnderzoekVan Swinderen Institute

Prof. dr. Ch. Schönenberger, University of Basel, Switzerland: Cooper-pair splitter: towards an efficient source of spin-entangled EPR pairs


13 October 2011 FWN-Building 5111.0080, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG, Groningen

Prof. dr. Christian Schönenberger


University of Basel, Switzerland


Cooper-pair splitter: towards an efficient source of spin-entangled EPR pairs




16.00 (Doors open and coffee available at 15.30)


FWN-Building 5111.0080


Meike Stöhr



In quantum mechanics the properties of two and more particles can be entangled. In basic science pairs of entangled particles, so called Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) pairs, play a special role as toy objects for fundamental studies. They provide such things as "spooky interaction at distance”, but they also enable secure encoding and teleportation and are thus important for applications in quantum information technology. Whereas EPR pairs of photons can be generated by parametric down conversion (PDC) in a crystal, a similar source for EPR pairs of electrons does not exists yet. In several theory papers, it has been suggested to use a superconductor for this purpose. The superconducting ground state is formed by a condensate of Cooper-pairs which are electron pairs in a spin-singlet state. Since there are many Cooper pairs in a metallic superconductor like Al, the main tasks are to extract Cooper pairs one by one and to split them into different arms. A controlled and efficient splitting is possible if one makes use of Coulomb interaction [1]. This has recently be demonstrated by two groups [2-4] using hybrid quantum-dot devices with both superconducting and normal metal contacts.

In the present talk, I will discuss the Cooper-pair splitter results from the Basel-Budapest-Copenhagen team [3] and compare with the other experiments. As an outlook we discuss approaches that aim at entanglement detection. The Cooper pair splitter holds great promises because very large splitting efficiencies approaching 100% and large pair current rates appear feasible.


[1] P. Recher, E. V. Sukhorukov, and D. and Loss, Phys. Rev. B 63, 165314 (2001).

[2] C. Strunk, Towards entangled electrons, Nature Nanotechnology 5, 11-12 (2009).

 [3] L. Hofstetter, S. Csonka, J. Nygard, and C. Schönenberger, Cooper pair splitter realized in a two-quantum-dot Y-junction, Nature 460, 906 (2009).

 [4] L.G. Herrmann, F. Portier, P. Roche, A. Levy Yeyati, T. Kontos, and C. Strunk, Carbon Nanotubes as Cooper Pair Beam Splitters, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 026801 (2010).

Last modified:12 September 2014 11.21 a.m.