Room-Temperature Quantum Bit Storage Exceeding 39 Minutes Using Ionized Donors in Silicon-28

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Science  15 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6160, pp. 830-833
DOI: 10.1126/science.1239584

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Long-Lived Donors

Quantum computing in materials such as silicon would simplify integration with existing electronic components; however, the coherence times of such qubits, especially at room temperature, are affected by the interaction with the busy environment of a solid. Eliminating isotopic impurities from the host material improves coherence times, as observed for qubits, based on the nuclear spin of neutral P donors in Si. Saeedi et al. (p. 830) modified this system by using charged P donors instead of neutral ones; by manipulating the states of the donors optically and using dynamical decoupling, the coherence time of the qubits was extended to 3 hours at cryogenic temperatures and 39 minutes at room temperature.


Quantum memories capable of storing and retrieving coherent information for extended times at room temperature would enable a host of new technologies. Electron and nuclear spin qubits using shallow neutral donors in semiconductors have been studied extensively but are limited to low temperatures (≲10 kelvin); however, the nuclear spins of ionized donors have the potential for high-temperature operation. We used optical methods and dynamical decoupling to realize this potential for an ensemble of phosphorous-31 donors in isotopically purified silicon-28 and observed a room-temperature coherence time of over 39 minutes. We further showed that a coherent spin superposition can be cycled from 4.2 kelvin to room temperature and back, and we report a cryogenic coherence time of 3 hours in the same system.

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