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The award winning EMPIR project e-SI-Amp came to a close in 2019
This project developed the semiconductor device and instrumentation technologies required to implement direct and practical methods for the realisation of the new ampere, which were introduced as part of the redefinition of the SI units in May 2019.
These technologies were based on the fixed value of the elementary charge, the magnitude of the electric charge carried by a single electron.
Tiny devices that can pump out one electron at a time, called electron pumps, were used for this research.
The project consortium produced several videos featuring these pumps:
- Quantum realisation of the SI ampere
- Mechanical model of an electron pump
- Quantum computing and devices
The consortium also gained notable recognition for some of the many papers that it published.
Award winning project publications include:
- Robustness of single-electron pumps at sub-ppm current accuracy level selected by the editors of Metrologia as one of the highlights of 2017
- Measurement of sub-picoampere direct currents with uncertainties below ten attoamperes published in the Review of Scientific Instruments, and selected as one of the most read editors highlights in the same year
- From Counting Electrons to Calibrating Ammeters: Improved Methodologies for Traceable Measurements of Small Electric Currents won the Best Paper of the Conference award at NCSLI, a major conference for the test and measurement industry (this paper is behind a paywall)
Project Coordinator Masaya Kataoka from NPL said
‘What I am most proud of after leading the e-SI-Amp is that our consortium partners have made real efforts in applying the technologies developed within the project to areas beyond the electrical metrology. Our work on single-electron sources and measurement systems expanded our capability to measure very small currents. Now, we have a number of case study stories of these technologies been adopted by other labs and industry, such as nuclear metrology, testing lighting, semiconductor manufacturing, etc. We may have been working on tiny things so-called electrons, but the impact our project has created was not so tiny!’.
The e-SI-Amp project was part of EMPIR’s ‘SI Broader Scope’ theme which, amongst other topics, continues in new projects due to start in 2019.
This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.
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