Single-Shot Readout of a Single Nuclear Spin

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Science  30 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5991, pp. 542-544
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189075

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Projective measurement of single electron and nuclear spins has evolved from a gedanken experiment to a problem relevant for applications in atomic-scale technologies like quantum computing. Although several approaches allow for detection of a spin of single atoms and molecules, multiple repetitions of the experiment that are usually required for achieving a detectable signal obscure the intrinsic quantum nature of the spin’s behavior. We demonstrated single-shot, projective measurement of a single nuclear spin in diamond using a quantum nondemolition measurement scheme, which allows real-time observation of an individual nuclear spin’s state in a room-temperature solid. Such an ideal measurement is crucial for realization of, for example, quantum error correction protocols in a quantum register.

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