Quantum computers promise to be a revolutionary technology because their elementary building blocks, qubits, can hold more information than the binary, 0-or-1 bits of classical computers. But to harness this capability, hardware must be developed that can access, measure and manipulate individual quantum states. National Science Foundation-funded researchers have now demonstrated a new hardware platform based on isolated electron spins in a two-dimensional material. The electrons are trapped by defects in sheets of hexagonal boron nitride, a one-atom-thick semiconductor material, and the researchers were able to optically detect the system's quantum states. Beyond advances in computation, having the building block of a quantum machine's qubits on a 2D surface enables other potential applications that depend on proximity.
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