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Quantum Science with Single Atoms and Molecules on Surfaces

Philip Willke

Physikalisches Institut, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany

The quantum nature of a physical system often emerges from its fundamental building blocks and demands a profound understanding to harvest its advantages for quantum devices. In this talk, I will introduce a new architecture for coherent control of spins on surfaces, by combining electron spin resonance (ESR) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) [1]. This technique allows us to address single atoms and molecules on surfaces with unprecedented energy resolution. Thus, it can be used to sense the magnetic coupling between spin centers on the nanoscale [2], including their dynamics [3,4]. In addition, when scanning the STM tip across the surface it permits to perform magnetic resonance imaging on the atomic scale [5]. The high energy resolution also grants access to the hyperfine interaction between the electron and nuclear spin of different atomic species [6]. Recently, we could extend this technique also to spin resonance on individual molecules [7]. Lastly, by employing pulsed ESR schemes, a coherent manipulation of the surface spin becomes possible, for instance in Rabi and Hahn echo schemes [8]. This opens up a path towards quantum information processing and quantum sensing using atomic building blocks, including atoms and molecules.

[1] S. Baumann, W. Paul et al., Science 350, 6259 (2015).
[2] T. Choi et al. Nature Nanotechnology 12, 420-424 (2017).
[3] F. Natterer et al., Nature 543, 226 (2017).
[4] L. Veldman, L. Farinacci et al., 372, 964-968 (2021).
[5] P. Willke et al., Nature Physics 15, 1005–1010 (2019).
[6] P. Willke et al., Science 362, 336–339 (2018).
[7] X. Zhang et al., Nature Chemistry 14, 59–65 (2022).
[8] K. Yang et al., Science 366, 509-512 (2019).