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Sunday, 03 June, 2007

Controlled dephasing of electrons by non-gaussian shot noise

I. Neder, F. Marquardt, M. Heiblum, D. Mahalu and V. Umansky -
Nature Physics 3, 534 - 537 (2007)

In a 'controlled dephasing' experiment, an interferometer loses its coherence owing to entanglement of the interfering electron with a controlled quantum system, which effectively is equivalent to path detection. In previous experiments, only partial dephasing was achieved owing to weak interactions between many detector electrons and the interfering electron, leading to a gaussian-phase randomizing process. Here, we report the opposite extreme, where interference is completely destroyed by a few (that is, one to three) detector electrons, each of which has a strong randomizing effect on the phase. We observe quenching of the interference pattern in a periodic, lobe-type fashion as the detector current is varied, and with a peculiar V-shaped dependence on the detector's partitioning. We ascribe these features to the non-gaussian nature of the noise, which is also important for qubit decoherence. In other words, the interference seems to be highly sensitive to the full counting statistics of the detector's shot noise.



Article on the journal's website