When noise gets electrons moving

New study demonstrates the existence of a counter-intuitive current, induced by the sound-based equivalent of a laser.

Studying the motion of electrons in a disordered environment is no simple task. Often, understanding such effects requires a quantum simulator designed to expose them in a different physical setup. This was precisely the approach adopted by Denis Makarov and Leonid Kon’kov from the Victor I. Il’ichev Pacific Oceanological Institute in Vladivostok in a new study published in EPJ B. They relied on a simulator of electronic motion subjected to noise stemming from a flux of sound waves.

Their findings could lead to semi-conductor devices of a new kind, operated through acoustic radiations. Through numerical simulation, the authors found that noise fluctuations lead to counter-intuitive electron transport behaviour and a change of direction in atomic transport. They deducted that being exposed to sound wave fluctuation gives rise to an electronic current that spontaneously changes its direction.

Makarov, D. V. and Kon’kov, L. E. (2014). Quantum transport in a driven disordered potential: onset of directed current and noise-induced current reversal. European Physical Journal B. DOI 10.1140/epjb/e2014-50568-3