Measuring the arrival time of an electron wave packet using a dynamical potential barrier

Park, Wanki; Sim, Heung-Sun; Ryu, Sungguen
Physical Review B 108, 195309 (2023)

A time-dependent potential barrier has been used to probe the arrival-time distribution of the wave packet of a hot electron by raising the barrier to block the packet upon arrival of the packet at the barrier. To see whether the barrier precisely detects the distribution, it is necessary to study an error caused by a finite rising speed of the barrier. For this purpose, we study transmission of an electron wave packet through the dynamical barrier, and identify two regimes, the semiclassical regime and the quasistatic regime. In each regime, we calculate the arrival-time distribution reconstructed by using the barrier and quantify the error in the detection, the difference of the temporal uncertainty between the wave-packet distribution and the reconstructed distribution. Our finding suggests that for precise detection, the timescale, in which the barrier height rises over the energy distribution of the wave packet and the tunneling energy window of the barrier, has to be much shorter than the temporal uncertainty of the wave packet. The analytical results are confirmed with numerical calculations.

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