Asymmetric arms maximize visibility in hot-electron interferometers

Clarissa J Barratt, Sungguen Ryu, Lewis A Clark, H-S Sim, Masaya Kataoka, Clive Emary
Physical Review B 104, 035436 (2021)

We consider theoretically an electronic Mach-Zehnder interferometer constructed from quantum Hall edge channels and quantum point contacts, fed with single electrons from a dynamic quantum dot source. By considering the energy dependence of the edge-channel guide centers, we give an account of the phase averaging in this setup that is particularly relevant for the short, high-energy wave packets injected by this type of electron source. We present both analytic and numerical results for the energy-dependent arrival time distributions of the electrons and also give an analysis of the delay times associated with the quantum point contacts and their effects on the interference patterns. A key finding is that, contrary to expectation, maximum visibility requires the interferometer arms to be different in length, with an offset of up to a micron for typical parameters. By designing interferometers that incorporate this asymmetry in their geometry, phase-averaging effects can be overcome such that visibility is only limited by other incoherent mechanisms.

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