What is it about?

The NV defect in silicon carbide at room temperature have a remarkably long phase coherence time, which means they can maintain their quantum state for a relatively long period of time. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the defects can store information in the form of nuclear spins, which could be useful for quantum technology applications. Our findings suggest that these defects in silicon carbide have potential for use in advanced quantum technologies in semiconductor systems.

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Why is it important?

Coherent control of the spin of an NV (nitrogen-vacancy) defect at room temperature in silicon carbide is important for the implementation of defects in quantum technologies for several reasons: Room temperature operation: Room temperature operation is crucial for practical quantum technologies since it eliminates the need for low-temperature cooling, making it easier to integrate defects into existing devices and systems. Silicon carbide is a promising material for hosting spin defects like NV centers at room temperature, as it provides excellent spin coherence properties even at ambient conditions. Quantum sensing: NV centers in silicon carbide have exceptional sensing capabilities. They can electromagnetically detect magnetic fields and temperature variations with extremely high sensitivity. Coherent control of the spin allows for manipulating and measuring the defect's quantum states, which enhances the precision and accuracy of the sensing applications. Quantum computing: Coherent control of the spin allows for performing quantum operations on the NV defect, which is a crucial requirement for quantum computing. By manipulating the spin states, such as initializing, controlling, and measuring them, NV defects can be harnessed as qubits, the fundamental building blocks of quantum computers. Room temperature operation enables the potential integration of NV defects into scalable quantum architectures. Quantum communication: Coherent control of the spin enables the manipulation and entanglement of NV defects, which is vital for quantum communication. By entangling the spins of distant NV centers, it becomes possible to establish long-range quantum communication channels. These channels could be used for secure communication or to connect quantum computers or other quantum devices. Materials compatibility: Silicon carbide is a widely used material in the semiconductor industry. Its compatibility with existing silicon-based microelectronics allows for potential integration of NV defects into silicon-based devices, opening up possibilities for hybrid systems that combine classical and quantum technologies. Overall, coherent control of the spin of NV defects at room temperature in silicon carbide is crucial for the practical implementation of defects in quantum technologies, enabling quantum sensing, computing, communication, and compatibility with existing materials and devices.


NV (Nitrogen-Vacancy) centers in silicon carbide (SiC) have gained significant interest in recent years in the field of quantum technologies. Here are the prospects for NV centers in SiC: Quantum Sensing: NV centers in SiC have remarkable sensing capabilities, making them suitable for a range of applications. They can detect weak magnetic fields with high sensitivity, enabling the development of quantum magnetometers and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the nanoscale. Additionally, they can measure temperature and strain, making them useful for quantum sensing in various fields including material science, biology, and geophysics. Quantum Information Processing: NV centers in SiC possess long electron spin coherence times and can be used as qubits (quantum bits) for quantum information processing. They have potential for applications in quantum computing, quantum cryptography, and secure communication. Building a scalable and fault-tolerant quantum computer based on NV centers in SiC is an ongoing area of research. Quantum Communication: NV centers in SiC can store quantum information in their electron spin states and transfer it to photons for long-distance communication. Their properties make them ideal for constructing quantum repeaters, which are critical for achieving long-distance secure communication using quantum protocols such as quantum key distribution (QKD). Biomedical Applications: The unique properties of NV centers in SiC enable label-free and non-invasive imaging of biological samples with high sensitivity and resolution. This has the potential to revolutionize biomedical imaging techniques, such as mapping neural activity in the brain or understanding molecular dynamics at the cellular level. Material Science and Quantum Metrology: NV centers in SiC offer the ability to probe and understand physical and chemical processes at the nanoscale. This allows for precise measurements in material science, such as tracking defects, characterizing impurities, or studying quantum phenomena in condensed matter systems. While NV centers in SiC hold great promise, there are still challenges to overcome, such as improving the fabrication techniques for creating high-quality NV centers or developing robust methods for coherently manipulating their quantum states. Nonetheless, the prospects for NV centers in SiC in quantum technologies are highly promising, and ongoing research is expected to unlock even more applications in the coming years.

Fadis Murzakhanov
Kazanskij Privolzskij Federal'nyj Universitet

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Room temperature coherence properties and 14N nuclear spin readout of NV centers in 4H–SiC, Applied Physics Letters, January 2024, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0186997.
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