Future quantum networks will combine ideally stationary quantum bits (qubits), such as single electron spins, with 'flying' qubits, which are photons that transfer quantum states between distant qubits. It has therefore been a long-standing challenge in the field of quantum computation and communication to couple a single electron spin to a single photon in a solid-state platform. Two groups working independently have now achieved that goal, by demonstrating entanglement between a photon and a single electron spin trapped in a semiconductor 'quantum dot' structure. The quantum dot acts as the stationary node. This achievement is a small step towards eventual implementation of quantum networks that can support long-distance quantum communication.
Quantum physicsPutting a spin on photon entanglement (News & Views p343, doi: 10.1038/491343a)
- Observation of entanglement between a quantum dot spin and a single photon (Letter p426, doi: 10.1038/nature11573)
- Quantum-dot spin–photon entanglement via frequency downconversion to telecom wavelength (Letter p421, doi: 10.1038/nature11577)
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