A team of scientists from the TU Munchen, in collaboration with the Spanish Institut de Clencies Fotoniques, managed to devise a methodology for electronically reading optically writen information from quantum computers using graphene. Sensors built using this technology could be used not only to measure extremely fast processes, but also be integrated into future quantum computers and allow clock speeds ranging into the terahertz domain.
This technique is based on a direct transfer of energy from nitrogen-vacancy centers in nanodiamonds (diamond defects comprising of a nitrogen atom and a vacancy) to a directly neighboring graphene layer. In contrast to the diamonds in which individual nitrogen-vacancy centers are insulated from each other, the graphene layer is electrically conducting. Two gold electrodes detect the induced charge, making it electronically measurable.
This setup requires quick measurement, because the the generated electron-vacancy pairs disappear after only a few billionths of a second. Luckily, this technique allows measurements in the picosecond domain (trillionths of a second). In addition, the scientists claim that their newly devised method should also work with dye molecules.