Electron-hopping - stock photo
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E-HOPPING %u2013 Illustration of a Coulomb glass system: Electrons (red) in a random landscape, interacting with each other (yellow-orange lines). Noise of the resistance of the system is created by collective "hopping" of the electrons (green arrow). More sensitive sensors and detectors based on semiconductor electronics could result from new findings by researchers from the United States, Norway and Russia. Their research has yielded a decisive step in identifying the origin of the universal "one-over-f" (1/f) noise phenomenon; %u201Cf%u201D stands for "frequency." One-over-f noise appears in everything from electronic devices and materials fatigue to road traffic. It appears in the distribution of stars in galaxies, and DNA sequences. The Argonne team has shown that the 1/f noise in doped semiconductors, the platform for all modern electronics, originates in the random distribution of impurities and the mutual interaction of the many electrons surrounding them. These two ingredients %u2014 randomness and interaction %u2014 trap electrons in the Coulomb glass, a state like window glass where electrons move by hopping from one random location to another. 1/f noise arises from the electrons' hopping motion. After discovering the theoretical connection between 1/f noise and formation of the Coulomb glass, Vinokour and his collaborators confirmed it with large-scale computer simulations; suppression of the interactions was found to remove the Coulomb glass behavior and 1/f noise.

Science Source / Argonne National Laboratory

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