Researchers at TU Delft have succeeded in shuttling electrons one by one through a chain and reading them out at the end of that chain, without disturbing their state during the process. This could represent an important step in the development of a quantum computer in the future. The Delft researchers published their results in Nature Nanotechnology on 04 January.
“This field – spintronics – is all about being able to store, transport and manipulate electrons and their spin with great precision,” explains TU Delft researcher Tim Baart. “Put simply, an electron’s spin is the direction of its rotation, either to the left or the right. You can use the spin of an individual electron to store information. The spin state then represents a digital ‘0’ or ‘1’.
Spin transport of huge numbers of electrons simultaneously over relatively long distances is already possible, and controlled single electron transport through semiconductor materials is now also routine. But until now, no-one had succeeded in transporting single electrons over large distances while preserving their spin.”