Single-Atom Gating of Quantum State Superpositions

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The ultimate miniaturization of electronic devices will likely require local and coherent control of single electronic wavefunctions. Wavefunctions exist within both physical real space and an abstract state space with a simple geometric interpretation: this state space - or Hilbert space - is spanned by mutually orthogonal state vectors corresponding to the quantized degrees of freedom of the real-space system. Measurement of superpositions is akin to accessing the direction of a vector in Hilbert space, determining an angle of rotation equivalent to quantum phase. Here we show that an individual atom inside a designed quantum corral1 can control this angle, ... continued below

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Moon, Christopher April 28, 2010.

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The ultimate miniaturization of electronic devices will likely require local and coherent control of single electronic wavefunctions. Wavefunctions exist within both physical real space and an abstract state space with a simple geometric interpretation: this state space - or Hilbert space - is spanned by mutually orthogonal state vectors corresponding to the quantized degrees of freedom of the real-space system. Measurement of superpositions is akin to accessing the direction of a vector in Hilbert space, determining an angle of rotation equivalent to quantum phase. Here we show that an individual atom inside a designed quantum corral1 can control this angle, producing arbitrary coherent superpositions of spatial quantum states. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy and nanostructures assembled atom-by-atom we demonstrate how single spins and quantum mirages can be harnessed to image the superposition of two electronic states. We also present a straightforward method to determine the atom path enacting phase rotations between any desired state vectors. A single atom thus becomes a real-space handle for an abstract Hilbert space, providing a simple technique for coherent quantum state manipulation at the spatial limit of condensed matter.

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  • Journal Name: Submitted to Nature Physics

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  • Report No.: SLAC-PUB-13993
  • Grant Number: AC02-76SF00515
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 979047
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc933082

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  • April 28, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Feb. 17, 2017, 6:36 p.m.

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Moon, Christopher. Single-Atom Gating of Quantum State Superpositions, article, April 28, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc933082/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.