Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A spin trio for strong coupling

27.07.2018

Quantum computers use quantum bits or "qubits" to do their calculations - quantum states, that is, of atoms or electrons that can take on the logical values "0" and "1" at the same time. In order to wire up many such qubits to make a powerful quantum computer, one needs to couple them to each other over distances of millimetres or even several metres. One way of achieving this is by exploiting the charge displacement caused by an electromagnetic wave, which is the working principle of an antenna. Such a coupling, however, also exposes the qubit to disturbances due to unwanted electric fields, which severely limits the quality of the logical qubit operations.

A team of scientists working in several research groups at ETH Zurich, assisted by theoretical physicists at Sherbrooke University in Canada, have now demonstrated how this problem can be avoided. To do so, they found a way to couple a microwave photon to a spin qubit in a quantum dot.


A spin-trio of electrons trapped in quantum dots (red). Quantum mechanical tunnelling between the quantum dots results in a dipole moment that couples strongly to the electromagnetic wave of a resonator (yellow).

Credit: ETH Zurich / Andreas Landig

Qubits with charge or spin

In quantum dots, electrons are first trapped in semiconductor structures measuring just a few nanometres that are cooled to less than one degree above the absolute zero of the temperature scale. The logical values 0 and 1 can now be realized in two different ways. One either defines a qubit in terms of the position of the electron on the right or left side of a double quantum dot, or else by the spin of the electron, which can point up or down.

The first case is called a charge qubit, which couples strongly to electromagnetic waves through the displacement of electric charge. A spin qubit, on the other hand, can be visualized as a tiny compass needle that points up or down. Much like a compass needle, a spin is also magnetic and, therefore, does not couple to electric but rather to magnetic fields. The coupling of a spin qubit to the magnetic part of electromagnetic waves, however, is much weaker than that of a charge qubit to the electric part.

Three spins for stronger coupling

This means that, on the one hand, a spin qubit is less susceptible to noise and keeps its coherence (on which the action of a quantum computer is based) for a longer period of time. On the other hand, it is considerably more difficult to couple spin qubits to each other over long distances using photons. The research group of ETH professor Klaus Ensslin uses a trick to make such a coupling possible nevertheless, as the post-doc Jonne Koski explains: "By realising the qubit with not just a single spin, but rather three of them, we can combine the advantages of a spin qubit with those of a charge qubit."

In practice, this is done by producing three quantum dots on a semiconductor chip that are close to each other and can be controlled by voltages that are applied through tiny wires. In each of the quantum dots, electrons with spins pointing up or down can be trapped. Additionally, one of the wires connects the spin trio to a microwave resonator. The voltages at the quantum dots are now adjusted in order to have a single electron in each quantum dot, with the spins of two of the electrons pointing in the same direction and the third spin pointing in the opposite direction.

Charge displacement through tunnelling

According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the electrons can also tunnel back and forth between the quantum dots with a certain probability. This means that two of the three electrons can temporarily happen to be in the same quantum dot, with one quantum dot remaining empty. In this constellation the electric charge is now unevenly distributed. This charge displacement, in turn, gives rise to an electric dipole that can couple strongly to the electric field of a microwave photon.

The scientists at ETH were able to clearly detect the strong coupling by measuring the resonance frequency of the microwave resonator. They observed how the resonance of the resonator split into two because of the coupling to the spin trio. From that data they could infer that the coherence of the spin qubit remained intact for more than 10 nanoseconds.

Spin trios for a quantum bus

The researchers are confident that it will soon be possible to realize a communication channel for quantum information between two spin qubits using this technology. "This will require us to put spin trios on either end of the microwave resonator and to show that the qubits are then coupled to each other through a microwave photon", says Andreas Landig, first author of the article and PhD student in Ensslin's group. This would be an important step towards a network of spatially distributed spin qubits. The researchers also emphasize that their method is very versatile and can straightforwardly be applied to other materials such as graphene.

###

This work was carried out in the framework of the National Centre of Competence in Research Quantum Science and Technology (NCCR QSIT). At ETH Zurich, scientists in the groups of Klaus Ensslin, Thomas Ihn, Werner Wegscheider and Andreas Wallraff were involved in the research.

Reference

Landig AJ, Koski JV, Scarlino P, Mendes UC, Blais A, Reichl C, Wegscheider W, Wallraff A, Ensslin K, Ihn T: Coherent spin-photon coupling using a resonant exchange qubit. Nature, 25 July 2018, doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0365-y

Media Contact

Prof. Dr. Klaus Ensslin
ensslin@phys.ethz.ch
41-446-332-209

 @ETH_en

http://www.ethz.ch/index_EN 

Prof. Dr. Klaus Ensslin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news/news/2018/07/spin-trio-for-strong-coupling.html
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0365-y

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Immortal quantum particles: the cycle of decay and rebirth
14.06.2019 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Small currents for big gains in spintronics
13.06.2019 | University of Tokyo

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel communications architecture for future ultra-high speed wireless networks

17.06.2019 | Information Technology

Climate Change in West Africa

17.06.2019 | Earth Sciences

Robotic fish to replace animal testing

17.06.2019 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>