A molecular quantum spin network controlled by a single qubit

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Science Advances  11 Aug 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 8, e1701116
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701116

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Scalable quantum technologies require an unprecedented combination of precision and complexity for designing stable structures of well-controllable quantum systems on the nanoscale. It is a challenging task to find a suitable elementary building block, of which a quantum network can be comprised in a scalable way. We present the working principle of such a basic unit, engineered using molecular chemistry, whose collective control and readout are executed using a nitrogen vacancy (NV) center in diamond. The basic unit we investigate is a synthetic polyproline with electron spins localized on attached molecular side groups separated by a few nanometers. We demonstrate the collective readout and coherent manipulation of very few (≤ 6) of these S = 1/2 electronic spin systems and access their direct dipolar coupling tensor. Our results show that it is feasible to use spin-labeled peptides as a resource for a molecular qubit–based network, while at the same time providing simple optical readout of single quantum states through NV magnetometry. This work lays the foundation for building arbitrary quantum networks using well-established chemistry methods, which has many applications ranging from mapping distances in single molecules to quantum information processing.

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