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Gigahertz Dynamics of a Strongly Driven Single Quantum Spin

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Science  11 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5959, pp. 1520-1522
DOI: 10.1126/science.1181193

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Quick Spin Flips

Quantum computation holds the tantalizing promise of vastly improving the efficiency of traditional computers. Among the many solid-state candidates for storing and manipulating quantum information, nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond are especially attractive because they can be used at room temperature and stay operational for milliseconds at a time. To use this coherence time efficiently, it is important to achieve fast manipulation of the spins in the system. Fuchs et al. (p. 1520, published online 19 November; see the Perspective by Gerardot and Öhberg) used pulses of strong microwave magnetic field to probe the dynamics of single spins in a nitrogen vacancy center. In this “strong-driving” nonlinear regime, extremely quick spin flips of less than a nanosecond in duration were observed, offering the possibility that up to a million operations could be performed on a single spin during its coherence time.