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Ultrafast electronic readout of diamond nitrogen–vacancy centres coupled to graphene


Non-radiative transfer processes are often regarded as loss channels for an optical emitter1 because they are inherently difficult to access experimentally. Recently, it has been shown that emitters, such as fluorophores and nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond, can exhibit a strong non-radiative energy transfer to graphene2,3,4,5,6. So far, the energy of the transferred electronic excitations has been considered to be lost within the electron bath of the graphene. Here we demonstrate that the transferred excitations can be read out by detecting corresponding currents with a picosecond time resolution7,8. We detect electronically the spin of nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond and control the non-radiative transfer to graphene by electron spin resonance. Our results open the avenue for incorporating nitrogen-vacancy centres into ultrafast electronic circuits and for harvesting non-radiative transfer processes electronically.

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Figure 1: Non-radiative readout scheme.
Figure 2: Ultrafast electronic readout of NV centres.
Figure 3: Electronically and optically detected ESR.
Figure 4: Timescales of the non-radiative readout of NV centres.


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We thank A. Reserbat-Plantey for technical support. This work was supported by a European Research Council (ERC) Grant NanoREAL (No. 306754), the ‘Center of NanoScience’ in Munich and the DFG via SFB 631. L.G. acknowledges financial support from the Marie-Curie International Fellowship COFUND and ICFOnest program. F.H.L.K. acknowledges support from the Fundacio Cellex Barcelona, the ERC Career integration grant 294056 (GRANOP) and the ERC starting grant 307806 (CarbonLight).

Author information




A.B. and L.G. performed the experiments and analysed the data together with A.W.H., F.H.L.K., M.S., J.A.G., M.S.B., H.H., and H.K., and F.H.L.K. and A.W.H. conceived the study. All authors co-wrote the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Frank H. L. Koppens or Alexander W. Holleitner.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Brenneis, A., Gaudreau, L., Seifert, M. et al. Ultrafast electronic readout of diamond nitrogen–vacancy centres coupled to graphene. Nature Nanotech 10, 135–139 (2015).

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