Researchers light up 'dark' spins in diamond

Oct 27, 2005

Discovery could lead to room temperature quantum computing

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have potentially opened up a new avenue toward room temperature quantum information processing. By demonstrating the ability to image and control single isolated electron spins in diamond, they unexpectedly discovered a new channel for transferring information to other surrounding spins -- an initial step towards spin-based information processing.

Quantum information processing uses the remarkable aspects of quantum mechanics as the basis for a new generation of computing and secure communication. The spin of a particle is quantum mechanical in nature, and is considered a viable candidate to implement such technologies.

A team of researchers including graduate students Ryan Epstein and Felix Mendoza, and their advisor, David Awschalom, a professor of physics, were intrigued by the long-lived electronic spins of so-called nitrogen-vacancy impurities in the diamond crystal – defects that only consist of two atomic sites. So, about two years ago, they embarked on developing a sensitive room temperature microscope that would allow them to study individual defects through their light emission.

This microscope, with its unique precision in the control of the magnetic field alignment, has allowed them to not only detect individual nitrogen-vacancy defects, but also small numbers of previously invisible 'dark' spins from nitrogen defects in their vicinity. These spins are called 'dark' because they cannot be directly detected by light emission and yet, it appears that they may prove extremely useful.

"We have found a channel for moving information between single electron spins at room temperature," said Awschalom. "This bodes well for making networks of spins, using the dark spins as wires, in order to process information at the atomic level."

The paper, "Anisotropic interactions of a single spin and dark-spin spectroscopy in diamond," is being published by Nature Physics in November 2005, and is available through advance online publication at: www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v… /ncurrent/index.html

Source: University of California - Santa Barbara

Explore further: 'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Flying qubits make for a highly resilient quantum memory

Oct 31, 2014

(Phys.org) —In a quantum memory, the basic unit of data storage is the qubit. Because a qubit can exist in a superposition state of both "1" and "0" at the same time, it can process much more information ...

'Zombie' bacteria are nothing to be afraid of

Aug 28, 2014

A cell is not a soap bubble that can simply pinch in two to reproduce. The ability to faithfully copy genetic material and distribute it equally to daughter cells is fundamental to all forms of life. Even ...

Molecular engineers record an electron's quantum behavior

Aug 14, 2014

A team of researchers led by the University of Chicago has developed a technique to record the quantum mechanical behavior of an individual electron contained within a nanoscale defect in diamond. Their technique ...

Quantum engineering

Aug 13, 2014

It can be difficult to distinguish between basic and applied research in the nascent field of quantum engineering. One person's exploration of quantum systems like atoms and electrons yields another's building ...

Recommended for you

'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials

6 hours ago

In subway stations around London, the warning to "Mind the Gap" helps commuters keep from stepping into empty space as they leave the train. When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, minding ...

New 2-D quantum materials for nanoelectronics

Nov 21, 2014

Researchers at MIT say they have carried out a theoretical analysis showing that a family of two-dimensional materials exhibits exotic quantum properties that may enable a new type of nanoscale electronics.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.