How to fire one electron at a time

  • Thread starter Four
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

How? I've been looking but the only thing I get is the double slit experiment.

How do you build a device that shoots one electron at a time? I know how to build a device that shoots a whole stream of electrons. But 1 at a time! How is it possible to get to such high granularity?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
phyzguy
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You just take your device that shoots a stream of electrons and reduce the intensity of the stream so that the electrons are far apart. For example, if I have a filament that is emitting 10^6 electrons/second, I can reduce the temperature of the filament, and the rate of electron emission will be reduced. Suppose the size of my apparatus and the speed of my electrons is such that it takes 1 millisecond to travel from the filament to the detector. If I reduce the rate of electron emission to 1 electron/second, then the vast majority of the time there will be only one electron at a time present in my apparatus.
 
  • #3
As was said, basically reduce your intensity until you've got something like a Poisson Distribution.
 
  • #4
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How about a photoelectric element pulsed with a narrow-width pulse from a light emitting diode. Just the first thing that came to mind.

Turning down the power to a filament makes me picture trying to get one molecule of steam off of a warm container of water.

DC
 

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