Diamond’s Quantum Mechanics
As a material, diamond contains impurities known as nitrogen-vacancy centers, which are point defects that behave like individual atoms, even at room temperature. The behavior of point defects is governed by quantum mechanics, and they can be used as quantum bits (qubits). Understanding and controlling them could therefore lead to new quantum technology for computing and communication.
Gregory D. Fuchs, Applied and Engineering Physics, is probing the coherent interactions of the quantum mechanics in diamond and the mechanical motion of a high-frequency resonator. Previously, Fuchs’ research team demonstrated that a high-quality diamond mechanical resonator can be used to control the quantum state of embedded qubits. Now the team is reversing that flow of information. They are using the embedded qubits to influence the mechanical state of the resonator.
First, the team is designing and fabricating new diamond mechanical resonators that operate with very high frequencies and quality factors. These resonators are much smaller than previous designs, which will strengthen the interaction between the resonators and qubits. Second, the team will induce the embedded qubits to cool a mechanical mode of the resonator. This capability could pave the way for better sensors and provide new opportunities for quantum information technologies. Third, the research team is monitoring the resonator as a new means to measure the state of the qubits, allowing for new forms of qubit measurement and new applications in precision sensing using qubits. A key goal is to understand the qubits in relation to a mechanical device, enabling new discoveries in quantum information science and new technology for quantum-enhanced sensing-based navigation.