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6.2 Application

The most likely first high volume application of single-electron technology are memory chips. In Section 5.2 various memory designs were investigated. General purpose single-electron processors are not very likely. However, special application processors which do one kind of calculation very efficiently, like neural networks [101], cellular automata [76], or systolic processors [5], which are in addition only locally interconnected, are possible applications of single-electron tunneling.

A low volume application which is investigated at NIST, the National Institute of Standards, is a single-electron pump which is used for metrology. Capacitors can be charged with a precise number of electrons, which allows an exact measurement of their capacitance.

Quantum mechanical effects can give rise to completely new devices like a single-electron photon logic device [92] which may initiate new applications for single-electron tunneling.

Christoph Wasshuber