Proposal for room-temperature quantum repeaters with nitrogen-vacancy centers and optomechanics

Jia-Wei Ji, Yu-Feng Wu, Stephen C. Wein, Faezeh Kimiaee Asadi, Roohollah Ghobadi, and Christoph Simon

Institute for Quantum Science and Technology, and Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada

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We propose a quantum repeater architecture that can operate under ambient conditions. Our proposal builds on recent progress towards non-cryogenic spin-photon interfaces based on nitrogen-vacancy centers, which have excellent spin coherence times even at room temperature, and optomechanics, which allows to avoid phonon-related decoherence and also allows the emitted photons to be in the telecom band. We apply the photon number decomposition method to quantify the fidelity and the efficiency of entanglement established between two remote electron spins. We describe how the entanglement can be stored in nuclear spins and extended to long distances via quasi-deterministic entanglement swapping operations involving the electron and nuclear spins. We furthermore propose schemes to achieve high-fidelity readout of the spin states at room temperature using the spin-optomechanics interface. Our work shows that long-distance quantum networks made of solid-state components that operate at room temperature are within reach of current technological capabilities.

The quantum internet promises to revolutionise information technology, offering new applications such as quantum-secured communication and, in the longer term, distributed quantum computing. This vision relies on the ability to distribute entanglement over long distances, which will likely require quantum repeaters. Most current approaches to quantum repeaters rely on cooling quantum systems to ultra-low temperatures. While this is feasible, it does increase experimental complexity and cost and thus limits the scalability of such approaches. Scalability considerations also tend to favour solid-state implementations.

Motivated by these considerations, we propose a complete solid-state quantum repeater architecture that can operate under ambient conditions. We leverage the unique characteristics of nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond, which have excellent electron spin and nuclear spin coherence even at room temperature. We show that spin-optomechanical interfaces make it possible to create high-fidelity entanglement between remote electron spins at room temperature, circumventing the phonon-induced broadening of the optical transitions. We furthermore show that the same interfaces can also be used to read out the spin states. While we focus on quantum repeaters for this initial proposal, there is a clear path to extend our approach to allow the implementation of fault-tolerant distributed quantum computing as well. Our proposal is a significant step towards the practical implementation of the quantum internet, which will stimulate many exciting new experiments and theoretical studies.

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