Quantum simulation using arrays of gate-defined quantum dots

Uditendu Mukhopadhyay

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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We are entering the era of the second quantum revolution, where we aim to harness the power of quantum mechanics to create new technologies. Quantum technologies have the potential to revolutionize the fields of simulation, computation, communication, sensing, metrology, and many others. Here we discuss analog quantum simulation, which has attracted a lot of attention in the last few years from several platforms. Although arrays of gate-defined quantum dots exhibit significant potential for analog simulation, example experiments have been few and far between. This thesis focuses on simulating the Fermi-Hubbard model using two dimensional (2d) arrays of quantum dots.
The first experiment describes the creation and measurement of a 2x2 quantum dot array. Historically, most experiments with quantum dots have been performed with linear arrays due to the relative ease of fabrication. We introduce a bi-layer gate structure, facilitated by the lift-off of sputtered silicon nitride, to create the 2x2 dot array. This gate design enables us to achieve unprecedented tunability of the tunnel coupling between all nearest-neighbor pairs of dots in 2d arrays. We also demonstrate individual control over the chemical potential and the electron occupation of each dot along with accurate measurement of the on-site and inter-site interaction terms. The use of virtual gates significantly aids in the tuning of tunnel coupling and chemical potential. The demonstrated high degree of control of the system along with fast single-shot spin-readout achieved through Pauli spin blockade establish this dot array as a promising simulator of the Fermi-Hubbard model.
The 2x2 dot array is used to simulate Nagaoka ferromagnetism in the next experiment. This form of itinerant ferromagnetism arises from the Fermi-Hubbard model, and was first shown analytically in the limit of infinite interaction strengths and infinite lattices by Nagaoka in 1966. Nagaoka ferromagnetism has been a topic of rigorous theoretical studies ever since, but its experimental signature has eluded us for more than five decades. In this experiment, we load the four dot plaquette with three electrons and demonstrate the emergence of spontaneous ferromagnetism by measuring the spin correlation of two out of the three electrons. Changing the topology of the array to an open chain is shown to destroy the ferromagnetic signature, consistent with the Lieb-Mattis theorem. We also show indications that this ferromagnetic ground state can be destroyed by applying a perpendicular magnetic field, unlike most other forms of ferromagnetism. However, this ground state shows striking robustness to the offset in the local potential of any dot. This is the first experimental verification of Nagaoka’s prediction as well as the first simulation of magnetism using quantumdot arrays.
The final experiment takes a different approach to simulate the Fermi-Hubbardmodel with a large 2d array of quantum dots. The dot array is created using only three gates in a top-down approach. This allows for only global control over the electron filling and tunnel coupling of the dots, contrary to the previous experiments. The readout is performed with capacitance spectroscopy, which allows us to directly probe the density of states of the two-dimensional electron systems. We measure the disorder levels and optimize both substrates and gating strategies to induce periodic potential, sufficiently stronger than the disorder level, at the 2d electron gas. Although we demonstrate a novel platformfor the realization of artificial lattices of interacting particles, this effort is currently limited by the substrate inhomogeneity.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Vandersypen, L.M.K., Supervisor
Award date3 Oct 2019
Print ISBNs978-90-8593-411-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Quantum simulation
  • Quantumdot array
  • Fermi-Hubbard Model
  • Nagaoka ferromagnetism

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