Spin qubits built in silicon carbide for quantum networking

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers in the US are using chromium atoms in commercial silicon carbide as potential spin qubits.

One advantage of these spin qubits is that they emit light at wavelengths that are compatible with telecommunications optical fibres and so could be useful for quantum networks that employ optical fibre to connect qubits.

The researchers at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at the Sandia laboratory implanted chromium ions into commercial 4H-SiC then heated them to more than 1600 degrees Centigrade. This produced a material with spin defects that have a much higher qubit quality. This result could lead to quantum communications that use today’s semiconductor and fibre optic technologies.

Spin qubits are based on the control of the orientation of an electron’s spin at the sites of defects in the semiconductor materials that make up qubits. Defects can include small amounts of materials that are different from the main semiconductor material.

Spin qubits are particularly interesting because the electronic spin can store information for a long time compared with many other types of qubits and can be controlled and read using optics. Optical interfaces will be important for the development of this technology since the photons can carry quantum information long distances using existing telecommunications fibre networks.

The same method could be used to create vanadium or molybdenum defects as researchers continue the search for the ideal qubit.

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