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Electrically Reading Nitrogen Vacancies for the First Time

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 07:22AM
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In the future we may have advanced quantum computers capable of running algorithms that modern electronic computers could never hope to. There is still a lot of work to be done before these devices can become reality though, including finding ways to store and read quantum information. Now researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have found a way to access the information stored in nitrogen vacancies electronically, which has never been accomplished before.

Nitrogen vacancies are a defect found in diamonds where carbon atoms have been replaced by nitrogen atoms. When the nitrogen atoms are hit by a laser, an electron is popped up to a higher energy state, creating an electron-hole pair that can store quantum information. To access this information, the researchers used nanodiamonds and a layer of graphene. When the electron-hole pair, which acts as a dipole, formed in the diamond, another dipole formed in the graphene, which is highly conductive. Gold electrodes are then able to record the induced charge, thereby measuring the information electronically.

As the electron-hole pairs will disappear in a matter of nanoseconds, the researchers had to use a laser that reaches into picoseconds and use very sensitive equipment. Such a combination should allow it to future quantum computers to achieve clock speeds in the terahertz domain, if this system is used.

Source: Technische Universitaet Muenchen



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