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  1. Abstract

    Quantum information processing and quantum sensing is a central topic for researchers who are part of the Materials Research Society and the Quantum Staging Group is providing leadership and guidance in this context. We convened a workshop before the 2022 MRS Spring Meeting and covered four topics to explore challenges that need to be addressed to further promote and accelerate the development of materials with applications in quantum technologies. This article captures the discussions at this workshop and refers to the pertinent literature.

    Graphical abstract 
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  2. Abstract Point defects in hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) are promising candidates as single-photon emitters (SPEs) in nanophotonics and quantum information applications. The precise control of SPEs requires in-depth understanding of their optoelectronic properties. However, how the surrounding environment of host materials, including the number of layers, substrates, and strain, influences SPEs has not been fully understood. In this work, we study the dielectric screening effect due to the number of layers and substrates, and the strain effect on the optical properties of carbon dimer and nitrogen vacancy defects in hBN from first-principles many-body perturbation theory. We report that environmental screening causes a lowering of the quasiparticle gap and exciton binding energy, leading to nearly constant optical excitation energy and exciton radiative lifetime. We explain the results with an analytical model starting from the Bethe–Salpeter equation Hamiltonian with Wannier basis. We also show that optical properties of quantum defects are largely tunable by strain with highly anisotropic response, in good agreement with experimental measurements. Our work clarifies the effect of environmental screening and strain on optoelectronic properties of quantum defects in two-dimensional insulators, facilitating future applications of SPEs and spin qubits in low-dimensional systems. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 29, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  4. Hematite (α-Fe 2 O 3 ) is a promising transition metal oxide for various energy conversion and storage applications due to its advantages of low cost, high abundance, and good chemical stability. However, its low carrier mobility and electrical conductivity have hindered the wide application of hematite-based devices. Fundamentally, this is mainly caused by the formation of small polarons, which show conduction through thermally activated hopping. Atomic doping is one of the most promising approaches for improving the electrical conductivity in hematite. However, its impact on the carrier mobility and electrical conductivity of hematite at the atomic level remains to be illusive. In this work, through a kinetic Monte-Carlo sampling approach for diffusion coefficients combined with carrier concentrations computed under charge neutrality conditions, we obtained the electrical conductivity of the doped hematite. We considered the contributions from individual Fe–O layers, given that the in-plane carrier transport dominates. We then studied how different dopants impact the carrier mobility in hematite using Sn, Ti, and Nb as prototypical examples. We found that the carrier mobility change is closely correlated with the local distortion of Fe–Fe pairs, i.e. the more stretched the Fe–Fe pairs are compared to the pristine systems, the lower the carrier mobility will be. Therefore, elements which limit the distortion of Fe–Fe pair distances from pristine are more desired for higher carrier mobility in hematite. The calculated local structure and pair distribution functions of the doped systems have remarkable agreement with the experimental EXAFS measurements on hematite nanowires, which further validates our first-principles predictions. Our work revealed how dopants impact the carrier mobility and electrical conductivity of hematite and provided practical guidelines to experimentalists on the choice of dopants for the optimal electrical conductivity of hematite and the performance of hematite-based devices. 
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  5. Abstract Solid state quantum defects are promising candidates for scalable quantum information systems which can be seamlessly integrated with the conventional semiconductor electronic devices within the 3D monolithically integrated hybrid classical-quantum devices. Diamond nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center defects are the representative examples, but the controlled positioning of an NV center within bulk diamond is an outstanding challenge. Furthermore, quantum defect properties may not be easily tuned for bulk crystalline quantum defects. In comparison, 2D semiconductors, such as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), are promising solid platform to host a quantum defect with tunable properties and a possibility of position control. Here, we computationally discover a promising defect family for spin qubit realization in 2D TMDs. The defects consist of transition metal atoms substituted at chalcogen sites with desirable spin-triplet ground state, zero-field splitting in the tens of GHz, and strong zero-phonon coupling to optical transitions in the highly desirable telecom band. 
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  6. Electrons in graphene are theoretically expected to retain spin states much longer than most materials, making graphene a promising platform for spintronics and quantum information technologies. Here, we use first-principles density-matrix (FPDM) dynamics simulations to show that interaction with electric fields and substrates strongly enhances spin relaxation through scattering with phonons. Consequently, the relaxation time at room temperature reduces from microseconds in free-standing graphene to nanoseconds in graphene on the hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) substrate, which is the order of magnitude typically measured in experiments. Further, inversion symmetry breaking by hBN introduces a stronger asymmetry in electron and hole spin lifetimes than predicted by the conventional D'yakonov-Perel' (DP) model for spin relaxation. Deviations from the conventional DP model are stronger for in-plane spin relaxation, resulting in out-of-plane to in-plane lifetime ratios much greater than 1/2 with a maximum close to the Dirac point. These FPDM results, independent of symmetry-specific assumptions or material-dependent parameters, also validate recent modifications of the DP model to explain such deviations. Overall, our results indicate that spin-phonon relaxation in the presence of substrates may be more important in graphene than typically assumed, requiring consideration for graphene-based spin technologies at room temperature. 
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