Physical Review B

Crossover from single-level to multilevel transport in artificial atoms

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Measurements are reported of the temperature dependence of the conductance through a small region of electron gas separated from its leads by tunnel junctions. The quantization of charge and energy in the small region gives rise to sharp, nearly periodic peaks in the conductance as a function of electron density, one for each electron added to the isolated region. Because the charge and energy are quantized, we call this an artificial atom. At low temperature, the conductance is limited by resonant tunneling through a single quantum level of the artificial atom, but at high temperatures several levels participate. Changes in the temperature dependence of the width and height of conductance peaks display clear evidence for this crossover from single-level to multilevel transport. © 1994 The American Physical Society.