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Quantum control of a spin in a levitated nanodiamond

Department of Physics

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Dr G Morley Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Single nitrogen-vacancy (NV-) centres in diamond have isolated electronic and nuclear spins which can store quantum information at room temperature for over one second. We have built an experiment to study nanodiamonds while they are levitated by a focused laser beam. Our theoretical proposals (together with the groups of Sougato Bose and Peter Barker in UCL and Myungshik Kim at Imperial College) suggest that we could put these diamonds into a quantum superposition in which they try out being in two places at once [1-3]. We have made nanodiamonds (with collaborator Oliver Williams’s group in Cardiff) that are 1000 times purer than commercially-available nanodiamonds, so they don’t heat up so much when we shine in light [4]. We are currently building a magnetogravitational trap [5] which will allow us to levitate a nanodiamond with much less light hitting it, so that we can cool the diamond below room temperature.

The goal of this PhD project is to build in and test the quantum control of a single NV-spin in a nanodiamond that is levitated in a magnetogravitational trap. We have this equipment set up already with non-levitated nanodiamonds which will be transferred to the trap. The long-term vision for this research is to better understand fundamental physics by testing what is the most macroscopic Schrodinger cat state that can be created. This could help to solve the quantum measurement problem experimentally. Our lab in Warwick also benefits from several other NV-experiments for quantum technology focused on nanoscale and bulk magnetometry both at room temperature and in helium cryostats. You would start off by learning how to use our equipment for studying single NV-centres without levitation.

You should have obtained, or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree in physics, or a related subject. Applicants with equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK will also be considered. This project involves collaboration with a major international industrial partner and there will be opportunities for working in their laboratories.

Funding Notes

The project provides full funding for stipend and fees for four years, and includes a generous research training support grant.

The Physics department is proud to be an IOP Juno Champion and a winner of an Athena Swan Silver Award, reflecting our commitment to equal opportunity and to fostering an environment on which all can excel.


[1] M. Scala, M. S. Kim, G. W. Morley, P. F. Barker and S. Bose, PRL 111, 180403 (2013).
[2] C. Wan, M. Scala, G. W. Morley, A. T. M. A. Rahman, H. Ulbricht, J. Bateman, P. F. Barker, S. Bose and M. S. Kim, PRL 117, 143003 (2016).
[3] S. Bose, A. Mazumdar, G. W. Morley, H. Ulbricht, M. Toroš, M. Paternostro, A. A. Geraci, P. F. Barker, M. S. Kim and G. Milburn, PRL 119, 240401 (2017).
[4] A. C. Frangeskou, A. T. M. A. Rahman, L. Gines, S. Mandal, O. A. Williams, P. F. Barker and G. W. Morley, NJP 20, 043016 (2018).
[5] J.-F. Hsu, P. Ji, C. W. Lewandowski and B. D'Urso, Sci. Rep. 6, 30125 (2016).
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