2013 Moseley medal and prize

Dr John J L Morton, University College London. For his contributions to experimental quantum control of electron and nuclear spins towards applications in quantum technologies.

John Morton is one of the world leaders in the quantum control of electron and nuclear spins. His work spans a wide range of physical systems from novel molecules to semiconductor nanodevices. In particular, Morton has pioneered the combined use of electron and nuclear spins in materials and devices to create ‘hybrid’ systems with applications in quantum technologies. He showed that the coherent state of an electron spin could be stored within a nuclear spin to yield a long-lived quantum memory. The spin memory lifetimes of seconds which he measured (extended to hours in following work) helped stimulate worldwide research on donor spins for quantum computation. He went on use the electron spin to enable ultrafast manipulation of nuclear spins, and to polarise nuclear spins sufficiently to allow the first demonstration of on-demand quantum entanglement between spins in an ensemble. 

Most recently he has shown how very strongly coupled electron and nuclear spin pairs can be used to create quantum bits which are inherently insensitive to noise. In the field of electron spin resonance (ESR), Morton measured the longest coherence times for an electron spin in a molecule and performed the first pulsed ESR measurements on a molecular magnet. His contributions to theory include developing cluster state architectures of quantum computation, entanglement-enhanced magnetic field sensors and exploring the role of entanglement in radical pair models for avian magnetoreception. Morton has worked with collaborators across four continents on topics such as measuring the longest coherence times of any solid state system, addressing quantum foundational questions such as the “three-box” problem, and performing the first quantum control and readout of a single donor spin in silicon.

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