Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Building quantum states with individual silicon atoms

Date:
April 3, 2013
Source:
University College London
Summary:
By introducing individual silicon atom 'defects' using a scanning tunneling microscope, scientists have coupled single atoms to form quantum states.

Silicon atoms. By introducing individual silicon atom 'defects' using a scanning tunnelling microscope, scientists have coupled single atoms to form quantum states.
Credit: Image courtesy of University College London

By introducing individual silicon atom 'defects' using a scanning tunnelling microscope, scientists at the London Centre for Nanotechnology have coupled single atoms to form quantum states.

Published April 3 in Nature Communications, the study demonstrates the viability of engineering atomic-scale quantum states on the surface of silicon -- an important step toward the fabrication of devices at the single-atom limit.

Advances in atomic physics now allow single ions to be brought together to form quantum coherent states. However, to build coupled atomic systems in large numbers, as required for applications such as quantum computing, it is highly desirable to develop the ability to construct coupled atomic systems in the solid state.

Semiconductors, such as silicon, routinely display atomic defects that have clear analogies with trapped ions. However, introducing such defects deterministically to observe the coupling between extended systems of individual defects has so far remained elusive.

Now, LCN scientists have shown that quantum states can be engineered on silicon by creating interacting single-atom defects. Each individual defect consisted of a silicon atom with a broken, or "dangling," bond. During this study, these single-atom defects were created in pairs and extended chains, with each defect separated by just under one nanometer.

Importantly, when coupled together, these individual atomic defects produce extended quantum states resembling artificial molecular orbitals. Just as for a molecule, each structure exhibited multiple quantum states with distinct energy levels.

We have created precise arrays of atomic defects on a silicon surface and demonstrated that they couple to form unique and interesting quantum states.

The visibility of these states to the scanning tunneling microscope could be tuned through the variation of two independent parameters -- the voltage applied to the imaging probe and its height above the surface.

The study was led by Dr Steven Schofield, who said: "We have created precise arrays of atomic defects on a silicon surface and demonstrated that they couple to form unique and interesting quantum states."

He added: "The next step is to replicate these results in other material systems, for example using substitutional phosphorus atoms in silicon, which holds particular interest for quantum computer fabrication."

Ongoing research at the LCN is exploring even more complex arrangements of these defects, including the incorporation of impurity atoms within the defect structures, which is expected to alter the symmetry of the defects (similar to the role of the nitrogen atom in the nitrogen-vacancy center defect in diamond).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. R. Schofield, P. Studer, C. F. Hirjibehedin, N. J. Curson, G. Aeppli, D. R. Bowler. Quantum engineering at the silicon surface using dangling bonds. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1649 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2679

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Building quantum states with individual silicon atoms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403112742.htm>.
University College London. (2013, April 3). Building quantum states with individual silicon atoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403112742.htm
University College London. "Building quantum states with individual silicon atoms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403112742.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins