Single-Shot Readout of a Single Nuclear Spin

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Science  01 Jul 2010:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189075


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 demonstrate 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, e.g., quantum error correction protocols in a quantum register.