John Morton, Professor in Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics based at the LCN has been awarded a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant for his ‘LOQO-MOTIONS project', which proposes to investigate ‘local quantum operations achieved through the motion of spins.'
ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to outstanding researchers of any nationality and age, with at least seven and up to twelve years of experience after PhD, and a scientific track record showing great promise.
The ERC has announced last week the awarding of the Consolidator Grants that go to 329 top researchers across Europe. The funding, part of the EU's Horizon 2020 programme, is worth in total €630 million and will give the recipients a chance to have far-reaching impact on science and beyond.
John's research involves the coherent control of electron and nuclear spins in solid state materials and devices, with a focus on quantum technologies. Quantum technologies are ones which exploit quantum superposition and entanglement to achieve major advances over current technologies in areas including communication, sensing and information processing. John is an instrumental academic within the UCL Quantum Science & Technology Institute (UCLQ), inaugurated in May 2014. UCLQ serves to coordinate and support research across the university across a range of departments and disciplines, helping to develop this fast-advancing field of quantum technology.
The aim of the LOQO-MOTIONS project is to achieve local quantum operations for sensing as well as the generation of quantum entanglement, by opening up a new approach for coupling spins by using their magnetic interactions combined with physical motion. This will exploit the long coherence times observed in spins of atomic defects in materials, based on previous studies by Morton’s group, and collaborators.
This approach is inspired by a recent blueprint for the implementation of a fault-tolerant quantum computer using donors in silicon, permitting full correction of quantum errors even with the limited positional accuracy with which donor atoms can be implanted into the surface of the silicon.
LOQO-MOTIONS assembles a comprehensive set of tools required to explore and exploit physically mobile spins; the measurement of single-donor spins using simple nano-devices, coupling together donor spins in silicon and optically-addressable defect spins, and cryogenic scanning of probe spins over static spins to generate entanglement.
In addition to developing a new platform for engineering spin-spin couplings, LOQO-MOTIONS has strong synergies with spin-based magnetometry and multiple quantum sensing applications will also be explored.
Professor Morton said: "Getting an ERC grant feels like winning the lottery. Obviously I’m delighted and this long-term funding ERC grant will help enable me and my research group to tackle some of the most fundamental and challenging problems in quantum computing and sensing applications in their full complexity”