In the past decade, semiconducting qubits have made great strides in overcoming decoherence, improving the prospects for scalability and have become one of the leading contenders for the development of large-scale quantum circuits. In this Review, we describe the current state of the art in semiconductor charge and spin qubits based on gate-controlled semiconductor quantum dots, shallow dopants and colour centres in wide-bandgap materials. We frame the relative strengths of the different semiconductor qubit implementations in the context of applications such as quantum simulation, computing, sensing and networks. By highlighting the status and future perspectives of the basic types of semiconductor qubits, this Review aims to serve as a technical introduction for non-specialists and a forward-looking reference for scientists intending to work in this field.
Semiconductor qubits span an entire ecosystem and are extremely versatile in terms of quantum applications, particularly viewed through the lenses of quantum simulation, sensing, computation and communication.
Controlling the charge degree of freedom in gated quantum dots is important for sensing of quantum objects, readout and light–matter coupling.
Gate-controlled spin qubits have demonstrated long coherence times, fast two-qubit gates and fault-tolerant operation, with promising prospects for quantum computation.
Shallow dopants have shown some of the longest coherence times in the solid state and high sensitivity to magnetic fields, relevant for quantum memories and sensing.
Optically active defects have shown great promise as in situ sensors, and their natural ability to serve as spin–photon interfaces makes them suitable for long-distance quantum communication.
Looking beyond a fault-tolerant quantum computer, semiconductor qubits will find diverse applications such as light–matter networks, scanning sensors, quantum memories, global cryptographic networks and small-scale designer simulation arrays.
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A.C and F.K. acknowledge support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nos. 688539 and 951852. A.C. acknowledges support from the EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship. S.D.F. acknowledges support from the European Union, through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 810504) and from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, through the CMOSQSPIN project (ANR-17-CE24-0009). A.M. acknowledges funding from the Australian Research Council (projects CE170100012 and DP180100969), the U.S. Army Research Office (grant no. W911NF-17-1-0200) and the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (grant no. AUSMURI00002). F.K. acknowledges support from the Independent Research Fund Denmark. N.d.L. acknowledges support from the NSF under the EFRI ACQUIRE programme (grant 1640959) and the CAREER programme (grant no. DMR-1752047), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (award numbers FA9550-17-0158 and FA9550-18-1-0334), the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund and the Princeton Catalysis Initiative.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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- Decoherence-free subspace
A subspace of the qubit’s Hilbert space where it is decoupled from specific environmental noise, leading to an evolution that is close to completely unitary; characterized as passive error correction.
- Set of universal quantum gates
A set of quantum gates to which all other quantum operations can be reduced.
- Qubit Larmor frequency
Frequency of the spin qubit, rotating via Larmor precession along a static magnetic field in the laboratory frame.
- Dynamical decoupling
Applying periodic sequences of short qubit control pulses, with an intended effect of approximately averaging out the unwanted system–environment coupling. Common sequences are the Hahn echo, CPMG and XYXY.
- Hahn echo time
Decoherence time obtained via a Hahn echo sequence, a form of dynamical decoupling of the qubit from its environment.
- Clifford gate
The Clifford gates are quantum gates from the Clifford group affecting permutations of Pauli operators; examples are the Hadamard gate, the CNOT gate and the X, Y, Z gates.
- Spin-squeezed states
Special kinds of entangled states that allow us to go beyond the classical projection noise limit due to the independent nature of single spins; useful for quantum sensing using interferometry.
- Kicked-top model
A well-studied model of single-body quantum chaos, the dynamics of the kicked top is described by a time-dependent Hamiltonian combining the top’s spin precession with nonlinear periodic ‘kicks’.
- Trotter steps
In digital quantum simulation, the time evolution of a simulation (t) is often decomposed into n Trotter steps of duration t/n, called the ‘kicking period’ for the kicked-top model.
- Stark tuning
Electric fields can be used to tune the optical transition frequencies of colour centres, usually by inducing a linear shift in frequency with applied field.
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Chatterjee, A., Stevenson, P., De Franceschi, S. et al. Semiconductor qubits in practice. Nat Rev Phys 3, 157–177 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42254-021-00283-9
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