NV--N+ pair centre in 1b diamond

Neil B. Manson, Morgan Hedges, Michael S.J. Barson, Rose Ahlefeldt, Marcus W. Doherty, Hiroshi Abe, Takeshi Ohshima, Matthew J. Sellars

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    79 Citations (Scopus)


    With the creation of nitrogen (NV) in 1b diamond it is common to find that the absorption and emission is predominantly of negatively charged NV centres. This occurs because electrons tunnel from the substitutional nitrogen atoms to NV to form NV--N+ pairs. There can be a small percentage of neutral charge NV0 centres and a linear increase of this percentage can be obtained with optical intensity. Subsequent to excitation it is found that the line width of the NV- zero-phonon has been altered. The alteration arises from a change of the distribution of N+ ions and a modification of the average electric field at the NV- sites. The consequence is a change to the Stark shifts and splittings giving the change of the zero-phonon line (ZPL) width. Exciting the NV- centres enhances the density of close N+ ions and there is a broadening of the ZPL. Alternatively exciting and ionizing N0 in the lattice results in more distant distribution of N+ ions and a narrowing of the ZPL. The competition between NV- and N0 excitation results in a significant dependence on excitation wavelength and there is also a dependence on the concentration of the NV- and N0 in the samples. The present investigation involves extensive use of low temperature optical spectroscopy to monitor changes to the absorption and emission spectra particularly the widths of the ZPL. The studies lead to a good understanding of the properties of the NV--N+ pairs in diamond. There is a critical dependence on pair separation. When the NV--N+ pair separation is large the properties are as for single sites and a high degree of optically induced spin polarization is attainable. When the separation decreases the emission is reduced, the lifetime shortened and the spin polarization downgraded. With separations of <12 A0 there is even no emission. The deterioration occurs as a consequence of electron tunneling in the excited state from NV- to N+ and an optical cycle that involves NV0. The number of pairs with the smaller separations and poorer properties will increase with the number of nitrogen impurities and it follows that the degree of spin polarization that can be achieved for an ensemble of NV- in 1b diamond will be determined and limited by the concentration of single substitutional nitrogen. The information will be invaluable for obtaining optimal conditions when ensembles of NV- are required. As well as extensive measurements of the NV- optical ZPL observations of Stark effects associated with the infrared line at 1042 nm and the optically detected magnetic resonance at 2.87 GHz are also reported.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number113037
    JournalNew Journal of Physics
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2018


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