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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Apr 7;96(13):136401. Epub 2006 Apr 3.

Enhancement of electron spin coherence by optical preparation of nuclear spins.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 82, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.


We study a large ensemble of nuclear spins interacting with a single electron spin in a quantum dot under optical excitation and photon detection. At the two-photon resonance between the two electron-spin states, the detection of light scattering from the intermediate exciton state acts as a weak quantum measurement of the effective magnetic (Overhauser) field due to the nuclear spins. In a coherent population trapping state without light scattering, the nuclear state is projected into an eigenstate of the Overhauser field operator, and electron decoherence due to nuclear spins is suppressed: We show that this limit can be approached by adapting the driving frequencies when a photon is detected. We use a Lindblad equation to describe the driven system under photon emission and detection. Numerically, we find an increase of the electron coherence time from 5 to 500 ns after a preparation time of 10 micros.

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