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Quantum tech thrives with semiconductor’s delightful flaws.

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TLDR:

In a recent study published in Nature Materials, researchers at Cornell University have discovered that defects in semiconducting materials, such as diamonds, can boost quantum technology. These defects, called color centers, contain electrons with an angular momentum or spin that can store and process information. The researchers focused on the popular semiconductor gallium nitride and identified two distinct species of color centers that could be manipulated for future quantum applications. They were able to manipulate the ground-state spin and observed quantum coherence, which allows quantum bits to retain their information. This discovery opens up new possibilities for exploring quantum technology in mature semiconductor materials.

Researchers at Cornell University have found that defects in semiconducting materials such as diamonds can boost quantum technology. These defects contain electrons with an angular momentum or spin, which can be harnessed to store and process information. The researchers focused on the semiconductor gallium nitride and identified two distinct species of defects that could be manipulated for future quantum applications. They were able to manipulate the ground-state spin and observed quantum coherence, which allows quantum bits to retain their information. This discovery opens up new possibilities for exploring quantum technology in mature semiconductor materials.

The researchers used confocal microscopy to identify the defects and conducted a range of experiments to study their properties. They found that one type of defect was coupled to a metastable excited state, while the other was coupled to the ground state. The researchers were able to manipulate the spin of the latter and observed significant changes in fluorescence, indicating a strong spin contrast. This is beneficial for efficient measurement of quantum information.

This discovery is significant because it expands the potential applications of quantum technology. Defects in semiconducting materials can be used as quantum sensors to sense magnetic fields and create quantum networks. The researchers’ findings demonstrate that these defects can exist in mature semiconductor materials like gallium nitride, which is widely used in electronics. This opens up new possibilities for integrating quantum technology into existing electronic devices and systems.

The research was supported by the Cornell Center for Materials Research and the National Science Foundation. The researchers also made use of the Cornell NanoScale Facility, which is supported by the NSF.

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