Create Qubits From Diamonds For Quantum Computer

Create Qubits From Diamonds For Quantum Computer

Quantum computer systems employ the principles of quantum mechanics to execute highly intricate computations that are either practically impossible or impractical for classical computers to handle. These computer systems rely on qubits, which serve as the fundamental units of quantum processes. Unlike classical bits, which can only be in either a zero or one state, qubits can exist in a superposition of both states simultaneously. This unique characteristic enables quantum computers to perform multiple calculations concurrently, thereby solving problems that classical computers are unable to tackle.

A diamond with a nitrogen-vacancy center emitting a red photon

Identifying appropriate physical systems capable of serving as qubits and offering high fidelity and scalability is a significant hurdle in the development of quantum computers. Numerous options exist for potential qubits, including superconducting circuits, trapped ions, photons, and atoms. For the purpose of this article, we will concentrate on diamonds as a particularly promising platform.

Why diamonds?

Diamonds are fascinating structures made of carbon atoms arranged in a regular lattice. Diamonds are very hard, transparent, and have excellent thermal and electrical properties. But what makes diamonds suitable for quantum computing is the presence of defects in their crystal structure.

A defect is a deviation from the perfect arrangement of atoms in a crystal. In diamonds, one type of defect is called a nitrogen vacancy (NV) center. This occurs when a carbon atom is replaced by a nitrogen atom and an adjacent site is left empty. The NV center has an electron that can be manipulated with visible light and microwaves to create and read out qubits.

NV centers have several advantages as qubits:

Unlike certain qubit platforms that necessitate extremely low temperatures for operation, diamonds can function effectively at room temperature.

Diamonds exhibit exceptional stability and coherence, allowing them to maintain their quantum state undisturbed by the environment for extended periods.

They can emit photons that carry quantum information, enabling communication between distant qubits and the creation of quantum networks.

They can be integrated into diamond microchips that can host many qubits in a compact and scalable way.

How to make qubits from diamonds?

There are two main steps to make qubits from diamonds: creating NV centers and controlling them.

Creating NV centers

NV centers can occur naturally in diamonds, but they are very rare and randomly distributed. To create qubits from diamonds, we need to artificially introduce NV centers in a controlled and precise way.

There are different methods to create NV centers, but they all involve introducing nitrogen atoms into the diamond lattice and creating vacancies (empty sites) next to them. There are two methods for manipulating diamonds. The first method is ion implantation, which entails using a particle accelerator to shoot nitrogen ions into the surface of the diamond. The second method is chemical vapor deposition (CVD), whereby thin layers of diamond are grown on a substrate by utilizing a gas mixture containing nitrogen.

The positioning and concentration of NV centers are influenced by various parameters of these methods, including the energy and dosage of the ions, as well as the temperature and pressure of the gas. By optimizing these parameters, researchers can create NV centers near the surface or deep inside the diamond, with high or low density, depending on the desired application.

Controlling NV centers

Once NV centers are created, they need to be controlled and manipulated to perform quantum operations. This can be done using optical and microwave techniques.

The NV center’s electron possesses a characteristic known as spin, analogous to a miniature magnet capable of aligning in an upward or downward direction. The spin state of the electron functions as a qubit, denoting either 0 (spin up), 1 (spin down), or a combination of both states in a superposition.

To read the qubit for functioning, it is crucial to establish a predefined state, such as 0 or 1. This is accomplished by directing a green laser at the NV center, causing the electron to ascend to a higher energy level before ultimately descending back to the ground state. The intensity of the emitted red photon varies depending on the spin state of the electron. By examining the emitted photon, we will be able to determine the electron’s spin state and, thereafter as may be needed, restore it to the required state.

For manipulating the qubit, we need to change its state from 0 to 1 or vice versa or create a superposition of both if required. This can be done by applying a microwave pulse on the NV center, which rotates the spin by an angle that depends on the frequency and duration of the pulse. By choosing different microwave pulses, we are able to perform different quantum operations on the qubit.

To read out the qubit, we need to measure its state without destroying it. This can be done by shining a green laser on the NV center again and detecting the red photon that it emits. The intensity of the photon will reveal the spin state of the electron and thus the qubit.


In this article, we have seen how diamonds can be used to create qubits for quantum computing. Diamonds offer several advantages as qubit platforms, such as working at room temperature, being stable and coherent, emitting photons, and being scalable. To make qubits from diamonds, we need to create NV centers in the diamond lattice and control them with optical and microwave techniques. Researchers worldwide are actively developing and continuously enhancing these techniques as they strive to construct expansive quantum computers and quantum networks utilizing diamonds.

The realm of quantum computing is an incredibly captivating and groundbreaking field with immense potential to transform numerous domains of science and technology. Diamonds are one of the important key materials that can enable this revolution. By harnessing the power of quantum mechanics in these beautiful structures, we can explore new frontiers of knowledge and innovation.

FAQs Answered:-

Are diamonds used in quantum computing?

Indeed, diamonds serve a significant role in the realm of quantum computing as a prominent platform for the generation and manipulation of qubits. Qubits, the fundamental building blocks of quantum information, are formed by exploiting defects in the crystal structure of diamonds known as nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers. These NV centers possess an electron that can be effectively regulated using visible light and microwaves, enabling the creation and extraction of qubits. Diamonds offer several advantages as qubit platforms, such as working at room temperature, being stable and coherent, emitting photons, and being scalable. In addition, diamonds are compatible with current microchip technology, allowing for the integration of numerous qubits on a single device. This compatibility positions diamonds as a compelling contender for constructing expansive quantum computers and quantum networks in the forthcoming era.

How are quantum qubits made?

Quantum qubits are derived from physical systems capable of occupying two separate states, such as spin up or spin down, or horizontal or vertical polarization. These states serve as representations of 0 or 1, similar to classical bits. However, what sets qubits apart is their unique ability to exist in a superposition, where they can simultaneously embody both states. This inherent quantum advantage enables qubits to surpass classical bits in terms of computational power and versatility. To make qubits, we need to find suitable physical systems that can be isolated from the environment, initialized to a known state, manipulated to perform quantum operations, and measured to read out the state. Various methods exist for creating qubits, including superconducting circuits, trapped ions, photons, atoms, and diamonds. Each approach possesses its own set of advantages and disadvantages, encompassing factors such as fidelity, scalability, coherence time, connectivity, and error correction.

How many bits is 1 qubit?

One qubit is equivalent to one bit of information in classical computing, but it can store more information than one bit due to its quantum nature. A qubit possesses the remarkable ability to exist in a superposition of both 0 and 1 states, enabling it to concurrently encode both values with a specific probability. This unique characteristic empowers a qubit to undertake numerous computations simultaneously, thus expediting certain tasks that would be arduous or unachievable for classical computers. However, it’s important to note that despite its superposition capability, a single qubit cannot store two bits of information. Upon measurement of a qubit, we obtain only one bit of information, either a 0 or a 1. The superposition collapses into one definite state upon measurement. Therefore, one qubit is still one bit of information in terms of storage capacity.

How much does one qubit cost?

The cost of one qubit depends on the type of qubit platform and the level of performance and quality required. Different qubit platforms have different costs associated with their fabrication, operation, maintenance, and integration. For example, superconducting qubits require very low temperatures and high vacuum conditions to operate, which increase the cost of cooling and infrastructure. On the other hand, diamond qubits can work at room temperature and are compatible with existing microchip technology, which reduce the cost of operation and integration. However, diamond qubits also require high-quality synthetic diamonds and sophisticated optical and microwave techniques to create and control them, which increase the cost of fabrication and manipulation. The cost of one qubit also depends on the fidelity, coherence time, connectivity, and error correction of the qubit. Higher performance and quality usually imply higher cost. Therefore, there is no definitive answer to how much one qubit costs. It depends on many factors and trade-offs that vary depending on the application and the technology.

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