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Hybrid optical–electrical detection of donor electron spins with bound excitons in silicon


Electrical detection of spins is an essential tool for understanding the dynamics of spins, with applications ranging from optoelectronics1,2 and spintronics3, to quantum information processing4,5,6,7,8. For electron spins bound to donors in silicon, bulk electrically detected magnetic resonance has relied on coupling to spin readout partners such as paramagnetic defects4,5 or conduction electrons6,7,8, which fundamentally limits spin coherence times. Here we demonstrate electrical detection of donor electron spin resonance in an ensemble by transport through a silicon device, using optically driven donor-bound exciton transitions9,10. We measure electron spin Rabi oscillations, and obtain long electron spin coherence times, limited only by the donor concentration11. We also experimentally address critical issues such as non-resonant excitation, strain, and electric fields, laying the foundations for realizing a single-spin readout method with relaxed magnetic field and temperature requirements compared with spin-dependent tunnelling12,13, enabling donor-based technologies such as quantum sensing.

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Figure 1: Electrically detected D0X spectroscopy in a silicon device.
Figure 2: Electrically detected spin resonance using D0X.
Figure 3: ESR detection under D0X laser excitation.
Figure 4: Strain-induced shifts in D0X transition energies, ΔE[D0X].


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We thank A. M. Tyryshkin for useful discussions. This research is supported by the EPSRC through the Materials World Network (EP/I035536/1) and UNDEDD project (EP/K025945/1) as well as by the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) through grant agreements No. 279781 (ERC) and 318397. Work at Princeton is supported by NSF through Materials World Network (DMR-1107606) and through the Princeton MRSEC (DMR-01420541). C.C.L. is supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. J.J.L.M. is supported by the Royal Society.

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C.C.L., M.U., M.F.G-Z. and J.J.L.M. conceived and designed the experiments. M.L.W.T. and S.A.L. provided the silicon samples. M.U. fabricated the silicon device, and the experiments were carried out by C.C.L., M.U. and P.R. C.C.L. developed the strain model for D0X and J.M. performed the strain simulations. All authors discussed the results. C.C.L. and J.J.L.M. wrote the manuscript with input from all authors.

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Correspondence to C. C. Lo.

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Lo, C., Urdampilleta, M., Ross, P. et al. Hybrid optical–electrical detection of donor electron spins with bound excitons in silicon. Nature Mater 14, 490–494 (2015).

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