Letter | Published:

Spin–orbit qubit in a semiconductor nanowire

Nature volume 468, pages 10841087 (23 December 2010) | Download Citation


Motion of electrons can influence their spins through a fundamental effect called spin–orbit interaction. This interaction provides a way to control spins electrically and thus lies at the foundation of spintronics1. Even at the level of single electrons, the spin–orbit interaction has proven promising for coherent spin rotations2. Here we implement a spin–orbit quantum bit (qubit) in an indium arsenide nanowire, where the spin–orbit interaction is so strong that spin and motion can no longer be separated3,4. In this regime, we realize fast qubit rotations and universal single-qubit control using only electric fields; the qubits are hosted in single-electron quantum dots that are individually addressable. We enhance coherence by dynamically decoupling the qubits from the environment. Nanowires offer various advantages for quantum computing: they can serve as one-dimensional templates for scalable qubit registers, and it is possible to vary the material even during wire growth5. Such flexibility can be used to design wires with suppressed decoherence and to push semiconductor qubit fidelities towards error correction levels. Furthermore, electrical dots can be integrated with optical dots in p–n junction nanowires6. The coherence times achieved here are sufficient for the conversion of an electronic qubit into a photon, which can serve as a flying qubit for long-distance quantum communication.

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We thank K. Nowack, R. Schouten, M. Laforest, K. Zuo, M. Hocevar, R. Algra, J. van Tilburg, M. Scheffler, G. de Lange, V. Dobrovitski, J. Danon, R. Hanson, R. Liu, Yu. V. Nazarov and L. Vandersypen for their help. This work has been supported by NWO/FOM (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), an ERC Advanced Grant and through the DARPA program QUEST.

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Author notes

    • S. Nadj-Perge
    •  & S. M. Frolov

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands

    • S. Nadj-Perge
    • , S. M. Frolov
    • , E. P. A. M. Bakkers
    •  & L. P. Kouwenhoven
  2. Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands

    • E. P. A. M. Bakkers


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S.N.-P., S.M.F. and L.P.K. designed the experiments. S.N.-P. and S.M.F. performed the measurements and analysed the data. E.P.A.M.B. provided nanowires. All authors wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to L. P. Kouwenhoven.

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    Supplementary Information

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