$6.1 Million Awarded for Collaboration on Diamond-based Quantum Information Processing and Communication
By Gail Gallessich
In the quest for quantum information processing, diamonds may be a physicist’s best friend.
According to scientists at UCSB, diamonds could revolutionize the field of quantum mechanics in computing by leading to ultra-secure communication, lightning-fast database searches, and code-cracking ability.
Two government funding agencies are putting $6.1 million into a pair of research projects aimed at utilizing diamond for quantum communication processing. UCSB is leading the charge on both efforts, thanks to dramatic developments in quantum physics in the past decade at the university.
“We are extremely excited by the rapid pace of discoveries in this emerging area of science and technology. This vital support offers extraordinary collaborative research opportunities for students to engage at the frontiers of the field in areas spanning fundamental physics to materials science,” said David Awschalom, principal investigator for both projects and professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering. He also serves as director of the campus’s California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), and directs the Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation.
The funding will go to a research collaboration involving CNSI, Hewlett-Packard Research Labs, and a team of faculty from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Iowa, and the Delft University of Technology. The granting organizations are the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).
At the quantum level, things like particles or light waves behave very differently from what scientists expect in a human-scale world. In the quantum world, for example, an electron can exist in two places at the same time, what is called a “superposition” of states; it can “spin up” and “spin down” at the same time.
The current projects will focus on developing new quantum measurement techniques to manipulate and read out single electron spins in diamond. The projects will also focus on the on-chip integration of single electron spins with photonics, for communication. Additionally, the project aims to build a world-class research facility for the creation of synthetic crystal diamond and diamond heterostructure materials and devices. Diamonds fabricated by the team will complement many ongoing research initiatives on campus and around the world, including programs working towards solid-state lighting, nanoelectronics, and atomic-level storage.
The CNSI provides a multidisciplinary approach to research in order to develop the information, biomedical, and manufacturing technologies that will dominate science and economy in the 21st century.
The UCSB team includes Andrew Cleland; Evelyn Hu; Steven DenBaars; Umesh Mishra; Shuji Nakamura; Christopher Palmstrom; Susanne Stemmer; and Chris Van der Walle. Another member is Ronald Hanson, a recent CNSI postdoctoral fellow, who is now a professor at the Kavli Institute on Nanoscience at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.