Exchange coupling is a key ingredient for spin-based quantum technologies since it can be used to entangle spin qubits and create logical spin qubits. However, the influence of the electronic valley degree of freedom in silicon on exchange interactions is presently the subject of important open questions. Here we investigate the influence of valleys on exchange in a coupled donor/quantum dot system, a basic building block of recently proposed schemes for robust quantum information processing. Using a scanning tunneling microscope tip to position the quantum dot with sub-nm precision, we find a near monotonic exchange characteristic where lattice-aperiodic modulations associated with valley degrees of freedom comprise less than 2~\% of exchange. From this we conclude that intravalley tunneling processes that preserve the donor’s ±x and ±y valley index are filtered out of the interaction with the ±z valley quantum dot, and that the ±x and ±y intervalley processes where the electron valley index changes are weak. Complemented by tight-binding calculations of exchange versus donor depth, the demonstrated electrostatic tunability of donor/QD exchange can be used to compensate the remaining intravalley ±z oscillations to realise uniform interactions in an array of highly coherent donor spins.

Exchange coupling is a key ingredient for spin-based quantum technologies since it can be used to entangle spin qubits and create logical spin qubits. However, the influence of the electronic valley degree of freedom in silicon on exchange interactions is presently the subject of important open questions. Here we investigate the influence of valleys on exchange in a coupled donor/quantum dot system, a basic building block of recently proposed schemes for robust quantum information processing. Using a scanning tunneling microscope tip to position the quantum dot with sub-nm precision, we find a near monotonic exchange characteristic where lattice-aperiodic modulations associated with valley degrees of freedom comprise less than 2~\% of exchange. From this we conclude that intravalley tunneling processes that preserve the donor’s ±x and ±y valley index are filtered out of the interaction with the ±z valley quantum dot, and that the ±x and ±y intervalley processes where the electron valley index changes are weak. Complemented by tight-binding calculations of exchange versus donor depth, the demonstrated electrostatic tunability of donor/QD exchange can be used to compensate the remaining intravalley ±z oscillations to realise uniform interactions in an array of highly coherent donor spins.