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Charging an island with a small number of electrons is associated with two
kinds of energies.
One kind arises from electron-electron interaction and the other is linked to
the spatial confinement of electrons. These energies are only significant
for very small structures in the nanometer regime. Otherwise they are masked
by thermal fluctuations.
2.1 Characteristic Energies
We discuss two other important characteristic energies, the work
done by the voltage sources and Helmholtz's free energy, and the role they
play in single-electron device behavior.