What is it about?

In this work, we measure devices with dimensions on the nanoscale - thousands of times thinner than a human hair, which we made in the university cleanrooms. The devices our measured in a 'fridge' at temperatures just a few degrees above absolute zero. All this is necessary to gain insight into an extremely delicate quantum property of the electron - the spin. Our device structure and measurement setup allow us to probe the lifetime of the spin whilst carefully tuning the parameters of the environment within which the electron sits. In this experiment we were able to show that there exist two distinct regimes in which the electron spin acts very differently with the system around it.

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Why is it important?

When considering 'real-world' applications of quantum phenomena, there is a balance to be struck between maintaining the delicate quantumness of the system and getting in there with our noisy probes to see what is going on. In short, we want to have our quantum cake and eat it. The best way to try to optimise this deal is by understanding the mechanisms of 'decoherence' - the ways in which the quantum properties lose their je ne sais quoi.

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This page is a summary of: Spin-relaxation mechanisms in InAs quantum well heterostructures, Applied Physics Letters, February 2023, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0135297.
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