Nanoscale systems that coherently couple to light and possess spins offer key capabilities for quantum technologies. However, an outstanding challenge is to preserve properties, and especially optical and spin coherence lifetimes, at the nanoscale. Here, we report optically controlled nuclear spins with long coherence lifetimes (T2) in rare-earth-doped nanoparticles. We detect spins echoes and measure a spin coherence lifetime of 2.9 ± 0.3 ms at 5 K under an external magnetic field of 9 mT, a T2 value comparable to those obtained in bulk rare-earth crystals. Moreover, we achieve spin T2 extension using all-optical spin dynamical decoupling and observe high fidelity between excitation and echo phases. Rare-earth-doped nanoparticles are thus the only nano-material in which optically controlled spins with millisecond coherence lifetimes have been reported. These results open the way to providing quantum light-atom-spin interfaces with long storage time within hybrid architectures.
The long coherence time of rare-earth dopant spins in bulk crystals has made them attractive qubit candidates but creating nanoscale devices often introduce decoherence sources that reduce performance. Serrano et al. demonstrate all-optical control of rare earth doped nanoparticles with millisecond coherence times.