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Fast control of nuclear spin polarization in an optically pumped single quantum dot

Nature Materials volume 10, pages 844848 (2011) | Download Citation


Highly polarized nuclear spins within a semiconductor quantum dot induce effective magnetic (Overhauser) fields of up to several Tesla acting on the electron spin1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12, or up to a few hundred mT for the hole spin13,14. Recently this has been recognized as a resource for intrinsic control of quantum-dot-based spin quantum bits. However, only static long-lived Overhauser fields could be used10,11. Here we demonstrate fast redirection on the microsecond timescale of Overhauser fields on the order of 0.5 T experienced by a single electron spin in an optically pumped GaAs quantum dot. This has been achieved using coherent control of an ensemble of 105 optically polarized nuclear spins by sequences of short radiofrequency pulses. These results open the way to a new class of experiments using radiofrequency techniques to achieve highly correlated nuclear spins in quantum dots, such as adiabatic demagnetization in the rotating frame15 leading to sub-μK nuclear spin temperatures, rapid adiabatic passage15, and spin squeezing16.

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We thank L. M. K. Vandersypen, V. I. Fal’ko, E. A. Chekhovich and A. D. Andreev for discussions, and D. Martrou for help with the sample growth. This work has been supported by the EPSRC Programme Grant EP/G601642/1, ITN Spin-Optronics and the Royal Society.

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  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK

    • M. N. Makhonin
    • , A. J. Ramsay
    • , M. S. Skolnick
    •  & A. I. Tartakovskii
  2. A. F. Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, 194021, St Petersburg, Russia

    • K. V. Kavokin
  3. Laboratoire de Photonique et de Nanostructures, Route de Nozay, 91460 Marcoussis, France

    • P. Senellart
    •  & A. Lemaître


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A.L. and P.S. developed and grew the sample. M.N.M. and A.I.T. conceived the experiments. M.N.M. designed and carried out the experiments. M.N.M, K.V.K. and A.I.T. analysed the data. A.I.T. and M.N.M. wrote the manuscript with input from all authors.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to M. N. Makhonin or A. I. Tartakovskii.

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