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The charge sensitivity of a capacitive‐coupled single electron transistor (SET) has been investigated with analytical and numerical calculations. We found that by tuning the gate charge and the asymmetry of the conductances, the transconductance‐to‐noise ratio can be largely increased. With the present available fabrication technology, our theoretical analysis can serve as a guidance for optimizing the charge sensitivity of a SET. © 1994 American Institue of Physics.