PerspectiveQuantum Information

Addressing spin states with infrared light

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Science  18 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6352, pp. 649
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8807

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Crystal defects are usually detrimental to the performance of materials, but quantum physicists have recently been embracing crystal defects that act like artificial atoms. Paramagnetic defects are particularly attractive quantum bits because their spin states are relatively immune to phonons and charge fluctuations that cause decoherence of quantum entanglement. For example, the spin state of the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond (1) has become a technologically advanced quantum memory. Christle et al. (2) now show that the divacancy in silicon carbide (SiC), which consists of a Si vacancy next to a C vacancy (see the figure, top panel), creates a high-fidelity interface between spin and infrared (IR) light in the telecommunications window. SiC divacancies could therefore be nodes in long-distance quantum networks linked by entangled IR photons.