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High-fidelity readout and control of a nuclear spin qubit in silicon


Detection of nuclear spin precession is critical for a wide range of scientific techniques that have applications in diverse fields including analytical chemistry, materials science, medicine and biology. Fundamentally, it is possible because of the extreme isolation of nuclear spins from their environment. This isolation also makes single nuclear spins desirable for quantum-information processing, as shown by pioneering studies on nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond1,2,3,4. The nuclear spin of a 31P donor in silicon is very promising as a quantum bit5: bulk measurements indicate that it has excellent coherence times6,7 and silicon is the dominant material in the microelectronics industry. Here we demonstrate electrical detection and coherent manipulation of a single 31P nuclear spin qubit with sufficiently high fidelities for fault-tolerant quantum computing8. By integrating single-shot readout of the electron spin9 with on-chip electron spin resonance10, we demonstrate quantum non-demolition11 and electrical single-shot readout of the nuclear spin with a readout fidelity higher than 99.8 per cent—the highest so far reported for any solid-state qubit. The single nuclear spin is then operated as a qubit by applying coherent radio-frequency pulses. For an ionized 31P donor, we find a nuclear spin coherence time of 60 milliseconds and a one-qubit gate control fidelity exceeding 98 per cent. These results demonstrate that the dominant technology of modern electronics can be adapted to host a complete electrical measurement and control platform for nuclear-spin-based quantum-information processing.

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Figure 1: Qubit nanostructure, spin transitions and electron spin resonance spectra.
Figure 2: Nuclear spin quantum jumps, readout error and lifetimes.
Figure 3: NMR spectra and Rabi oscillations of a single 31P nuclear spin.
Figure 4: Ramsey fringes and spin-echo decay.


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We thank R. P. Starrett, D. Barber, C. Y. Yang and R. Szymanski for technical assistance and A. Laucht, R. Kalra and J. Muhonen for discussions. This research was funded by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (project number CE11E0096) and the US Army Research Office (W911NF-13-1-0024). We acknowledge support from the Australian National Fabrication Facility.

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Authors and Affiliations



K.Y.T. and W.H.L. fabricated the device; D.N.J. designed the P implantation experiments; J.J.P., K.Y.T., J.J.L.M., J.P.D. and F.A.Z. performed the measurements; J.J.P., A.M., A.S.D. and J.J.L.M. designed the experiments and discussed the results; J.J.P. and A.M. analysed the data; and J.J.P. and A.M. wrote the manuscript with input from all co-authors.

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Correspondence to Andrea Morello.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Pla, J., Tan, K., Dehollain, J. et al. High-fidelity readout and control of a nuclear spin qubit in silicon. Nature 496, 334–338 (2013).

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