Quantum bits are now easier to manipulate for devices in quantum computing, thanks to enhanced spin-orbit interaction in silicon.
A silicon quantum computer chip has the potential to hold millions of quantum bits, or qubits, for much faster information processing than with the bits of today's computers. This translates to high-speed database searches, better cybersecurity and highly efficient simulation of materials and chemical processes.
Now, research groups from Purdue University, the Technological University of Delft, Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that silicon has unique spin-orbit interactions that can enable the manipulation of qubits using electric fields, without the need for any artificial agents.
"Qubits encoded in the spins of electrons are especially long-lived in silicon, but they are difficult to control by electric fields. Spin-orbit interaction is an important knob for the design of qubits that was thought to be small in this material, traditionally," said Rajib Rahman, research assistant professor in Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The strength of spin-orbit interaction, which is the interaction of an electron's spin with its motion, is an important factor for the quality of a qubit. The researchers found more prominent spin-orbit interaction than usual at the surface of silicon where qubits are located in the form of so-called quantum dots - electrons confined in three dimensions. Rahman's lab identified that this spin-orbit interaction is anisotropic in nature - meaning that it is dependent on the angle of an external magnetic field - and strongly affected by atomic details of the surface.
"This anisotropy can be employed to either enhance or minimize the strength of the spin-orbit interaction," said Rifat Ferdous, lead author of this work and a Purdue graduate research assistant in electrical and computer engineering. Spin-orbit interaction then affects qubits.
"If there is a strong spin-orbit interaction, the qubit's lifetime is shorter but you can manipulate it more easily. The opposite happens with a weak spin-orbit interaction: The qubit's lifetime is longer, but manipulation is more difficult," Rahman said.
The researchers published their findings on June 5 in Nature Partner Journals - Quantum Information. The Wisconsin-Madison team fabricated the silicon device, the Delft team performed the experiments and the Purdue team led the theoretical investigation of the experimental observations. This work is supported by the Army Research Office, U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and the European Research Council.
Upcoming work in Rahman's lab will focus on taking advantage of the anisotropic nature of spin-orbit interactions to further enhance the coherence and control of qubits, and, therefore, the scaling up of quantum computer chips.
Valley dependent anisotropic spin splitting in silicon quantum dots
Rifat Ferdous1, Erika Kawakami2, Pasquale Scarlino2, Micha? P. Nowak2,3, D. R. Ward4, D. E. Savage4, M. G. Lagally4, S. N. Coppersmith4, Mark Friesen4, Mark A. Eriksson4, Lieven M. K. Vandersypen2 and Rajib Rahman1
1Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
2Technical University of Delft, Delft, Netherlands
3AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland
4University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
Spin qubits hosted in silicon (Si) quantum dots (QD) are attractive due to their exceptionally long coherence times and compatibility with the silicon transistor platform. To achieve electrical control of spins for qubit scalability, recent experiments have utilized gradient magnetic fields from integrated micro-magnets to produce an extrinsic coupling between spin and charge, thereby electrically driving electron spin resonance (ESR). However, spins in silicon QDs experience a complex interplay between spin, charge, and valley degrees of freedom, influenced by the atomic scale details of the confining interface. Here, we report experimental observation of a valley dependent anisotropic spin splitting in a Si QD with an integrated micro-magnet and an external magnetic field. We show by atomistic calculations that the spin-orbit interaction (SOI), which is often ignored in bulk silicon, plays a major role in the measured anisotropy. Moreover, inhomogeneities such as interface steps strongly affect the spin splittings and their valley dependence. This atomic-scale understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors controlling the valley dependent spin properties is a key requirement for successful manipulation of quantum information in Si QDs.
Kayla Wiles | EurekAlert!
Innovation boost for “learning factory”: European research project “SemI40” generates path-breaking findings
11.12.2019 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
Reorganizing a computer chip: Transistors can now both process and store information
10.12.2019 | Purdue University
More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?
It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...
In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.
Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...
The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.
Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...
Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...
Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
12.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2019 | Life Sciences