Nanoelectronics course 2007

The properties of the world's smallest refrigerator can be studied with the methods introduced in this course. For more information, see



Tfy-3.491: Nanoelectronics (L, 3 ocr)

Time: Fall 2007

Lectures (Doc. Tero Heikkilä) on Tuesdays at 12-14 in F2, starting on the 11. 9. (one exception: the lecture on 6.11. is moved to 9.11. at 12-14 in F2)

Exercises (Matti Laakso): on Mondays at 12-14 in F3, starting on the 17. 9.

Next exam on 22.1. at 16-19 in K215 (department of mechanical engineering). Remeber to sign up in WebTopi by 15.1.

Topical issues

Here are finally the results of the second exam!

See the points for the exam and the course here.

Course contents for the exam: Ch. 1, Ch. 2 (not including the sections marked with (**)), Ch. 3 excluding Sec. 3.6, Ch. 4 excluding 4.2.3 , 4.2.6 and 4.2.7, all of Ch. 5, 6 and 7, Ch. 8 excluding Sec. 8.3, all of Ch. 9, Ch. 10 excluding Sec. 10.3, and all of Ch. 11 and 12. These in addition with all the exercises and model solutions.

Course feedback form is here. All feedback is appreciated!

The exam on 21.12. is in hall K in the main building instead of F1.

Due to exam period there are no lectures or exercises on week 44. Next exercise session is on 5.11. and next lecture on 9.11. (Note the unusual time).

The course excursion to see the Low Temperature laboratory nanoelectronics facilities will take place on the Thursday 18th October at 12 o'clock. Let's meet at the lobby of the Physics building next to the door to the LTL.

The first lecture was on Tuesday, 11.9. If you couldn't attend and wish to participate in the course, send an e-mail to the course assistant.

Lecture notes

The lecture notes will be updated by the beginning of each lecture. You can download them here. To report errors, typos or poorly explained sections, please use this form.

Exercise problems

You can enquire old solutions from the course assistant.

Course description

Nanoelectronics is one of today’s big fields of physics research. It enables the study of many fundamental aspects, such as the conversion from the quantum-mechanical microscopic world to the macroscopic everyday scales or quantum engineering where phenomena familiar from atomic physics are studied in up to micron-size structures with highly tunable physical parameters. At the same time, a thorough understanding of the transport phenomena is of a paramount importance when designing ever smaller electronic devices. In this course, I detail the most relevant phenomena encountered in nanoelectronic circuits, such as Coulomb blockade, interference effects and noise, and also discuss some of their uses in novel electronic applications.

The course is aimed for advanced undergraduate or for graduate students and it assumes basic knowledge of quantum mechanics and solid state physics. Its successful completion amounts to 3 study weeks.

Tentative contents of the course:

  1. Introduction to basic notions and the most relevant systems including metallic or semiconducting systems, carbon nanotubes and graphene
  2. Semiclassical Boltzmann theory
  3. Scattering approach
  4. Interference effects
  5. Single-electron tunneling and Coulomb blockade
  6. Quantum dots
  7. Quantum wires with interactions or (mesoscopic) effects in graphene
  8. Superconducting junctions
  9. Fluctuations and correlations
  10. Dissipation in quantum mechanics


In the course, we mainly follow the lecture notes, but many of the topics have obviously been published in different books or review articles. For such references, see

  1. Basic mesoscopic physics: Y. Imry, Introduction to Mesoscopic Physics, Oxford University Press, 1997.
  2. Semiclassical Boltzmann theory: H. Smith and H. H. Jensen, Transport Phenomena, Oxford University Press, 1989; F. Giazotto, et al., "Opportunities for mesoscopics in thermometry and refrigeration: Physics and applications", Rev. Mod. Phys. 78, 217 (2006).
  3. Scattering approach: S. Datta, Electronic Transport in Mesoscopic Systems, Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  4. Interference effects: above Datta's book, Ch. 1 in T. Dittrich, et al., Quantum Transport and Dissipation, Wiley-VCH, 1998, and the book M. Janssen: "Fluctuations and Localization in Mesoscopic Electron Systems", World Scientific, 2001.
  5. Single-electron tunneling and Coulomb blockade: Ch. 3 in the book by T. Dittrich, et al.
  6. Transport through Quantum Dots: Ch. 8-10 in the book H. Bruus and K. Flensberg, Many-Body Quantum Theory in Condensed-Matter Theory: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2004); on Kondo effect: Leo Kouwenhoven and Leonid Glazman: Revival of the Kondo effect, Physics World 14, 33 (2001).
  7. Superconductivity: M. Tinkham: Introduction to Superconductivity (McGraw-Hill 1996).
  8. Superconducting junctions: also the book by Tinkham, and the review by F. Giazotto, et al. (see chapter 2 above).
  9. Noise: General properties of noise can be found in the book by Kogan: Electronic noise and fluctuations in solids (Cambridge, 1996). Linear response theory and the associated fluctuation-dissipation theorem is found in many advanced statistical physics texts, such as Ch. 10 in M. Plischke and Birger Bergersen: Equilibrium Statistical Physics (2nd Ed., World Scientific, 1994). An exhaustive review of shot noise is Ya. Blanter and M. Büttiker: Shot noise in mesoscopic conductors, Phys. Rep. 336, 1 (2000) and can be also found at arXiv:cond-mat/9910158.

(more to come)