Two-dimensional materials can store quantum information at room temperature

2022-05-05 0 By

Researchers have identified a two-dimensional material that can be used to store quantum information at room temperature.Quantum memory is the main building block to be addressed when building a quantum Internet, in which quantum information is safely stored and sent via photons or particles of light.Researchers at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Sydney in Australia, have identified a two-dimensional material called hexagonal boron nitrite that can emit single photons at room temperature from atomic defects in its structure.The researchers found that the light emitted by these isolated defects provided information about the quantum properties that can be used to store quantum information, called spin, meaning the material could be used for quantum applications.Importantly, quantum spin can be carried out by light at room temperature.The discovery could eventually support scalable quantum networks built from two-dimensional materials that can operate at room temperature.The results are in the journal Nature Communications.Future communication networks will use single photons to send messages around the world, leading to more secure global communication technology.Computers and networks based on the principles of quantum mechanics will be more powerful and secure than existing technologies.However, in order to make such a network possible, researchers need to develop reliable methods to generate single, indistinguishable photons as information carriers across quantum networks.We can use photons to send information from one place to another, but if we’re going to build a true quantum network, we need to send information, store information and send it elsewhere, said The study’s co-first authors, Along with Dr. Qiushi Gu and John Jarman.We need materials that can hold quantum information at room temperature for a period of time, but most of the material platforms we currently have are difficult to manufacture and only work well at low temperatures.Hexagonal boron nitride is a two-dimensional material grown in large reactors by chemical vapor deposition.It’s cheap and scalable.Recent efforts have revealed the existence of single-photon emitters and the existence of dense collections of optically accessible spins, but not separate, isolated spin-photon interfaces operating under environmental conditions.Usually, it’s a very boring material, usually used as an insulator.But we found that the material has a defect that allows it to emit single photons, which means it could be used in quantum systems.If we can make it store quantum information in the form of spin, then it’s a scalable platform.Stern and her colleagues built a hexagonal boron nitride sample near a tiny gold antenna and a fixed-strength magnet.By firing a laser at the sample at room temperature, they were able to observe many different field-related responses to the light emitted by the material.The researchers found that when they shone a laser on the material, they were able to manipulate the spin, or intrinsic angular momentum, of the defect and use the defect as a way to store quantum information.Normally, the signals in these systems are always the same, but in this case, the signals vary according to the specific defects we are studying, and not all defects show a signal, so there is still a lot to discover, said co-first author Gu Qiushi.The material has so many variations, it’s like a blanket over a moving surface — you see so many ripples, they’re all different.Now that we have identified optically accessible isolated spins in this material at room temperature, the next steps will be to understand their optical physics in detail and explore possible operational mechanisms for application, including information storage and quantum sensing.This work will be followed by a series of interesting physics.