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A device representing a basic building block for clocked quantum-dot cellular automata architecture is reported. Our device consists of three floating micron-size metal islands connected in series by two small tunnel junctions where the location of an excess electron is defined by electrostatic potentials on gates capacitively coupled to the islands. In this configuration, the middle dot acts as an adjustable Coulomb barrier allowing clocked control of the charge state of the device. Charging diagrams of the device show the existence of several operational modes, in good agreement with theory. The clocked switching of a single electron is experimentally demonstrated and advantages of this architecture are discussed. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.