Learning how to manipulate spins: EPR studies of anti-ferromagnetic rings and linked rings towards quantum computation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chemistry


Quantum information processing (QIP) sounds like science fiction. In a conventional computer information is stored in a bit which can either be a 0 or a 1, and processing information involves changing 0 to 1 or 1 to 0. In a quantum computer information would be stored as a Qubit which is a super-position of 0 and 1. An analogy would be that a classical bit is like a light switch, which is either on or off, while a Qubit is a dimmer switch set simultaneously to all possible positions. Many systems have been studied as possible Qubits , but at present no efficient means for QIP exists. This is because the physical requirements are very precise and matching all requirements simultaneously is very difficult. In our previous work we have shown that molecular species can be made which have many of the correct characteristics. In this interdisciplinary project between a chemistry group at Manchester and a condensed matter physics group at Oxford we will fully characterise a range of such molecules and examine their suitability for QIP. By this route we intend to demonstrate, at least at prototype level, molecules and addressing techniques that will allow QIP. If QIP can be made to work it allows some calculations to be performed quickly which would be impossibly slow using conventional computers, and hence it would be massive technological step forward.


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Ardavan A (2015) Engineering coherent interactions in molecular nanomagnet dimers in npj Quantum Information

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Baker ML (2012) A classification of spin frustration in molecular magnets from a physical study of large odd-numbered-metal, odd electron rings. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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Faust TB (2011) Chemical control of spin propagation between heterometallic rings. in Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany)

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Faust TB (2012) Controlling magnetic communication through aromatic bridges by variation in torsion angle. in Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003)

Description We have performed fundamental studies that underpin the proposed use of magnetic molecules as components in molecular electronic devices or in logic operations. This has included studies of electron spin relaxation effects in large molecules, the embedding of these molecules in crystallines arrays, and their linking into larger supramolecular structures where we can measure and manipulate the interactions between them by pulsed EPR spectroscopies.
Exploitation Route The work shows how molecules can be designed to give favourable electron spin properties for certain proposed applications. This is relevant to the ultimate proposed use of molecules in e.g. logic gates or other areas exploiting their quantum nature, and how they can be incorporated into larger complex materials.
Sectors Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics

Description This is fundamental research in chemistry and physics whose primary impact has been in the academic sector, but has attracted some interest from industrial research labs.