Readout and control of the spin-orbit states of two coupled acceptor atoms in a silicon transistor

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Science Advances  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 12, eaat9199
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat9199


Coupling spin qubits to electric fields is attractive to simplify qubit manipulation and couple qubits over long distances. Electron spins in silicon offer long lifetimes, but their weak spin-orbit interaction makes electrical coupling challenging. Hole spins bound to acceptor dopants, spin-orbit–coupled J = 3/2 systems similar to Si vacancies in SiC and single Co dopants, are an electrically active spin system in silicon. However, J = 3/2 systems are much less studied than S = 1/2 electrons, and spin readout has not yet been demonstrated for acceptors in silicon. Here, we study acceptor hole spin dynamics by dispersive readout of single-hole tunneling between two coupled acceptors in a nanowire transistor. We identify mJ = ±1/2 and mJ = ±3/2 levels, and we use a magnetic field to overcome the initial heavy-light hole splitting and to tune the J = 3/2 energy spectrum. We find regimes of spin-like (+3/2 to −3/2) and charge-like (±1/2 to ±3/2) relaxations, separated by a regime of enhanced relaxation induced by mixing of light and heavy holes. The demonstrated control over the energy level ordering and hybridization are new tools in the J = 3/2 system that are crucial to optimize single-atom spin lifetime and electrical coupling.

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