Nature Communications

Quantum decoherence dynamics of divacancy spins in silicon carbide

Download paper


Long coherence times are key to the performance of quantum bits (qubits). Here, we experimentally and theoretically show that the Hahn-echo coherence time of electron spins associated with divacancy defects in 4H-SiC reaches 1.3 ms, one of the longest Hahn-echo coherence times of an electron spin in a naturally isotopic crystal. Using a first-principles microscopic quantum-bath model, we find that two factors determine the unusually robust coherence. First, in the presence of moderate magnetic fields (30 mT and above), the 29 Si and 13 C paramagnetic nuclear spin baths are decoupled. In addition, because SiC is a binary crystal, homo-nuclear spin pairs are both diluted and forbidden from forming strongly coupled, nearest-neighbour spin pairs. Longer neighbour distances result in fewer nuclear spin flip-flops, a less fluctuating intra-crystalline magnetic environment, and thus a longer coherence time. Our results point to polyatomic crystals as promising hosts for coherent qubits in the solid state.


29 Sep 2016


Nature Communications