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Published December 23, 2010 | Submitted
Journal Article Open

Spin–orbit qubit in a semiconductor nanowire


Motion of electrons can influence their spins through a fundamental effect called spin–orbit interaction. This interaction provides a way to control spins electrically and thus lies at the foundation of spintronics. Even at the level of single electrons, the spin–orbit interaction has proven promising for coherent spin rotations. Here we implement a spin–orbit quantum bit (qubit) in an indium arsenide nanowire, where the spin–orbit interaction is so strong that spin and motion can no longer be separated. In this regime, we realize fast qubit rotations and universal single-qubit control using only electric fields; the qubits are hosted in single-electron quantum dots that are individually addressable. We enhance coherence by dynamically decoupling the qubits from the environment. Nanowires offer various advantages for quantum computing: they can serve as one-dimensional templates for scalable qubit registers, and it is possible to vary the material even during wire growth. Such flexibility can be used to design wires with suppressed decoherence and to push semiconductor qubit fidelities towards error correction levels. Furthermore, electrical dots can be integrated with optical dots in p–n junction nanowires. The coherence times achieved here are sufficient for the conversion of an electronic qubit into a photon, which can serve as a flying qubit for long-distance quantum communication.

Additional Information

© 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 29 September; accepted 10 November 2010. We thank K. Nowack, R. Schouten, M. Laforest, K. Zuo, M. Hocevar, R. Algra, J. van Tilburg, M. Scheffler, G. de Lange, V. Dobrovitski, J. Danon, R. Hanson, R. Liu, Yu. V. Nazarov and L. Vandersypen for their help. This work has been supported by NWO/FOM (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), an ERC Advanced Grant and through the DARPA program QUEST.

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