Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Application of the Josephson effect in electrical metrology



Samuel P. Benz, Blaise Jeanneret


Over the last 30 years, metrology laboratories have used the quantum behavior of the Josephson effect to greatly improve voltage metrology. The following article reviews the history and present status of the research and development Josephson voltage standards. Specifically, the technology and performance of quantum-accurate voltage standards is explained in detail, as is their impact on a wide range of electrical metrology applications, primarily those for dc and ac voltage measurements. The physics of the Josephson Effect will be presented and the importance of quantum-based electrical standards will be discussed. A detailed explanation of the operation of conventional Josephson voltage standard and its use for dc applications will be presented, including a description of the most important results. The latter sections of this paper describe recent efforts to apply the Josephson Effect to ac voltage and other electrical metrology applications. Advanced voltage standard systems have been developed that provide new features such as stable, programmable dc voltages and quantum-accurate ac waveform synthesis. The superconducting technology and integrated circuit designs for these systems will be described. Two different systems have dramatically improved precision measurements for audio-frequency voltages and for power metrology.
European Physical Journal Special Topics (formerly the Journal de Physique IV by EDP Sciences and Springer Verlag)


electrical metrology, Josephson effect, quantum, Josephson array, voltage standard


Benz, S. and Jeanneret, B. (2009), Application of the Josephson effect in electrical metrology, European Physical Journal Special Topics (formerly the Journal de Physique IV by EDP Sciences and Springer Verlag), [online], (Accessed July 19, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created June 1, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017