Room-Temperature Quantum Bit Memory Exceeding One Second

Science  08 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6086, pp. 1283-1286
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220513

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Extending Quantum Memory

Practical applications in quantum communication and quantum computation require the building blocks—quantum bits and quantum memory—to be sufficiently robust and long-lived to allow for manipulation and storage (see the Perspective by Boehme and McCarney). Steger et al. (p. 1280) demonstrate that the nuclear spins of 31P impurities in an almost isotopically pure sample of 28Si can have a coherence time of as long as 192 seconds at a temperature of ∼1.7 K. In diamond at room temperature, Maurer et al. (p. 1283) show that a spin-based qubit system comprised of an isotopic impurity (13C) in the vicinity of a color defect (a nitrogen-vacancy center) could be manipulated to have a coherence time exceeding one second. Such lifetimes promise to make spin-based architectures feasible building blocks for quantum information science.


Stable quantum bits, capable both of storing quantum information for macroscopic time scales and of integration inside small portable devices, are an essential building block for an array of potential applications. We demonstrate high-fidelity control of a solid-state qubit, which preserves its polarization for several minutes and features coherence lifetimes exceeding 1 second at room temperature. The qubit consists of a single 13C nuclear spin in the vicinity of a nitrogen-vacancy color center within an isotopically purified diamond crystal. The long qubit memory time was achieved via a technique involving dissipative decoupling of the single nuclear spin from its local environment. The versatility, robustness, and potential scalability of this system may allow for new applications in quantum information science.

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