Letter | Published:

Universal control and error correction in multi-qubit spin registers in diamond

Nature Nanotechnology volume 9, pages 171176 (2014) | Download Citation


This article has been updated


Quantum registers of nuclear spins coupled to electron spins of individual solid-state defects are a promising platform for quantum information processing1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13. Pioneering experiments selected defects with favourably located nuclear spins with particularly strong hyperfine couplings4,5,6,7,8,9,10. To progress towards large-scale applications, larger and deterministically available nuclear registers are highly desirable. Here, we realize universal control over multi-qubit spin registers by harnessing abundant weakly coupled nuclear spins. We use the electron spin of a nitrogen–vacancy centre in diamond to selectively initialize, control and read out carbon-13 spins in the surrounding spin bath and construct high-fidelity single- and two-qubit gates. We exploit these new capabilities to implement a three-qubit quantum-error-correction protocol14,15,16,17 and demonstrate the robustness of the encoded state against applied errors. These results transform weakly coupled nuclear spins from a source of decoherence into a reliable resource, paving the way towards extended quantum networks and surface-code quantum computing based on multi-qubit nodes11,18,19.

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Change history

  • 07 February 2014

    In the version of this Letter originally published online, in Fig. 3b in one instance of RXπ/2, a subscript 'α' was used instead of a subscript 'X'. This error has now been corrected in all versions of the Letter.


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The authors thank L. Childress, J.J.L. Morton, O. Moussa and L.M.K. Vandersypen for discussions and comments. T.H.T. acknowledges support from a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme. Work at the Ames Laboratory was supported by the US Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences (contract no. DE- AC02-07CH11358). The authors acknowledge support from the Dutch Organization for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the DARPA QuASAR programme, the EU SOLID and DIAMANT programmes, and the European Research Council through a Starting Grant.

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Author notes

    • T. van der Sar

    Present address: Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA


  1. Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5046, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands

    • T. H. Taminiau
    • , J. Cramer
    • , T. van der Sar
    •  & R. Hanson
  2. Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA

    • V. V. Dobrovitski


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V.V.D., T.H.T., T.v.d.S. and R.H. conceived the control method. T.H.T., J.C., T.v.d.S. and R.H. devised the experiments. T.H.T., J.C. and T.v.d.S. performed the measurements and processed the data. T.H.T. and R.H. wrote the manuscript. All authors analysed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. Hanson.

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