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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 May 11;108(19):196602. Epub 2012 May 8.

Storage of classical information in quantum spins.

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International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), Avenida Mestre José Veiga, 4715-330 Braga, Portugal.


Digital magnetic recording is based on the storage of a bit of information in the orientation of a magnetic system with two stable ground states. Here we address two fundamental problems that arise when this is done on a quantized spin: quantum spin tunneling and backaction of the readout process. We show that fundamental differences exist between integer and semi-integer spins when it comes to both reading and recording classical information in a quantized spin. Our findings imply fundamental limits to the miniaturization of magnetic bits and are relevant to recent experiments where a spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscope reads and records a classical bit in the spin orientation of a single magnetic atom.

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