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Detection of doubled shot noise in short normal-metal/ superconductor junctions


Shot noise refers to the fluctuations in electrical current through a device arising from the discrete nature of the charge-carrying particles. Recent experiments have exploited the fact that the shot noise is proportional to the charge of the carriers to establish fractional quantization of quasiparticles in the fractional quantum Hall effect1,2. By a similar argument, it is expected that when a superconducting reservoir emits Cooper pairs, (which have a charge twice that of an electron) into a short normal-metal wire, the shot noise should be double that obtained for a normal-metal reservoir3,4. Although the charge of Cooper pairs has been well established by flux quantization and tunnel experiments5, doubling of their shot noise has not yet been observed. Here we report a shot-noise experiment using a short diffusive normal-metal superconductor contact, in which we confirm the predicted noise behaviour for double charges. The measurements, taken over a large range of bias current, establish that phase coherence is not required to observe the effect.

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Figure 1: Scanning electron microscope image of the sample.
Figure 2: Resistance versus temperature.
Figure 4: Shot-noise power spectral density as a function of the d.c. bias current I. a, T = 4.2 K; b, T = 1.35 K.
Figure 3: Differential resistance dV/dI as a function of the mean bias current I, at T = 4.2 and 1.35 K.

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Correspondence to M. Sanquer.

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Jehl, X., Sanquer, M., Calemczuk, R. et al. Detection of doubled shot noise in short normal-metal/ superconductor junctions. Nature 405, 50–53 (2000).

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