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VOLUME 83 (2006) | ISSUE 12 | PAGE 659
Topological quantization of current in quantum tunnel contacts
PACS: 73.21.La, 73.23.Hk, 73.40.Gk, 74.50.+r
It is shown that an account of the Berry phase (a topological θ-term) together with a dissipative term in the effective action S[φ] of the tunnel contacts induces a strong quantization of the tunnel current at low temperatures. This phenomenon like the Coulomb blockade reflects a discrete charge structure of the quantum shot noise and can ensure a quantization of the tunnel current without a capacitive charging energy EC, when the latter is strongly suppressed by quantum fluctuations. Since a value of the θ-parameter is determined by the gate voltage, this effect allows to control a current through the contact. A possible physical application of this effect is proposed.