Optically active point defects in crystals have gained widespread attention as photonic systems that could be applied in quantum information technologies1,2. However, challenges remain in the placing of individual defects at desired locations, an essential element of device fabrication. Here we report the controlled generation of single negatively charged nitrogen–vacancy (NV−) centres in diamond using laser writing3. Aberration correction in the writing optics allows precise positioning of the vacancies within the diamond crystal, and subsequent annealing produces single NV− centres with a probability of success of up to 45 ± 15%, located within about 200 nm of the desired position in the transverse plane. Selected NV− centres display stable, coherent optical transitions at cryogenic temperatures, a prerequisite for the creation of distributed quantum networks of solid-state qubits. The results illustrate the potential of laser writing as a new tool for defect engineering in quantum technologies, and extend laser processing to the single-defect domain.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $4.92 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Weber, J. R. et al. Quantum computing with defects. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 8513–8518 (2010).
Dzurak, A. Quantum computing: diamond and silicon converge. Nature 479, 47–48 (2011).
Gattass, R. R. & Mazur, E. Femtosecond laser micromachining in transparent materials. Nat. Photon. 2, 219–225 (2008).
Jelezko, F., Gaebel, T., Popa, I., Gruber, A. & Wrachtrup, J. Observation of coherent oscillations in a single electron spin. Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 076401 (2004).
Riedel, D. et al. Resonant addressing and manipulation of silicon vacancy qubits in silicon carbide. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 226402 (2012).
Muller, T. et al. Optical signatures of silicon-vacancy spins in diamond. Nat. Commun. 5, 3328 (2014).
Rogers, L. J. et al. All-optical initialization, readout, and coherent preparation of single silicon-vacancy spins in diamond. Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 263602 (2014).
Christle, D. J. et al. Isolated electron spins in silicon carbide with millisecond coherence times. Nat. Mater. 14, 160–163 (2015).
Widmann, M. et al. Coherent control of single spins in silicon carbide at room temperature. Nat. Mater. 14, 164–168 (2015).
von Bardeleben, H. J., Cantin, J. L., Rauls, E. & Gerstmann, U. Identification and magneto-optical properties of the NV center in 4H–SiC. Phys. Rev. B 92, 064104 (2015).
Iwasaki, T. et al. Germanium-vacancy single color centers in diamond. Sci. Rep. 5, 12882 (2015).
Barrett, S. D. & Kok, P. Efficient high-fidelity quantum computation using matter qubits and linear optics. Phys. Rev. A 71, 060310 (2005).
Benjamin, S. C., Lovett, B. W. & Smith, J. M. Prospects for measurement-based quantum computing using solid state spins. Laser Photon. Rev. 3, 556–574 (2009).
Batalov, A. et al. Temporal coherence of photons emitted by single nitrogen-vacancy defect centers in diamond using optical Rabi oscillations. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 077401 (2008).
Togan, E. et al. Quantum entanglement between an optical photon and a solid-state spin qubit. Nature 466, 730–734 (2010).
Hensen, B. et al. Loophole-free Bell inequality violation using electron spins separated by 1.3 kilometres. Nature 526, 682–686 (2015).
Englund, D. et al. Deterministic coupling of a single nitrogen vacancy center to a photonic crystal cavity. Nano Lett. 10, 3922–3926 (2010).
Faraon, A., Barclay, P. E., Santori, C., Fu, K.-M. C. & Beausoleil, R. G. Resonant enhancement of the zero-phonon emission from a colour centre in a diamond cavity. Nat. Photon. 5, 301–305 (2011).
Riedrich-Möller, J. et al. One- and two-dimensional photonic crystal microcavities in single crystal diamond. Nat. Nanotech. 7, 69–74 (2012).
Toyli, D. M. et al. Chip-scale nanofabrication of single spins and spin arrays in diamond. Nano Lett. 10, 3168–3172 (2010).
Chu, Y. et al. Coherent optical transitions in implanted nitrogen vacancy centers. Nano Lett. 14, 1982–1986 (2014).
McLellan, C. A. et al. Patterned formation of highly coherent nitrogen-vacancy centers using a focused electron irradiation technique. Nano Lett. 16, 2450–2454 (2016).
Simmonds, R. D., Salter, P. S., Jesacher, A. & Booth, M. J. Three dimensional laser microfabrication in diamond using a dual adaptive optics system. Opt. Express 19, 24122–24128 (2011).
Lagomarsino, S. et al. Photoionization of monocrystalline CVD diamond irradiated with ultrashort intense laser pulse. Phys. Rev. B 93, 085128 (2016).
Yamamoto, T. et al. Extending spin coherence times of diamond qubits by high-temperature annealing. Phys. Rev. B 88, 075206 (2013).
Uzan-Saguy, C. et al. Damage threshold for ion-beam induced graphitization of diamond. Appl. Phys. Lett. 67, 1194–1196 (1995).
Siyushev, P. et al. Optically controlled switching of the charge state of a single nitrogen-vacancy center in diamond at cryogenic temperatures. Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 167402 (2013).
Acosta, V. M. et al. Dynamic stabilization of the optical resonances of single nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond. Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 206401 (2012).
Rondin, L. et al. Magnetometry with nitrogen-vacancy defects in diamond. Rep. Prog. Phys. 77, 056503 (2014).
Ohno, K. et al. Engineering shallow spins in diamond with nitrogen delta-doping. Appl. Phys. Lett. 101, 082413 (2012).
Pham, L. M. et al. Magnetic field imaging with nitrogen-vacancy ensembles. New J. Phys. 13, 045021 (2011).
Courvoisier, A., Booth, M. J. & Salter, P. S. Inscription of 3D waveguides in diamond using an ultrafast laser. Appl. Phys. Lett. 109, 031109 (2016).
Sotillo, B. et al. Diamond photonics platform enabled by femtosecond laser writing. Sci. Rep. 6, 35566 (2016).
Kononenko, T. V. et al. Femtosecond laser microstructuring in the bulk of diamond. Diam. Relat. Mater. 18, 196–199 (2009).
Y.-C.C. thanks DeBeers for financial support and S.N.I. acknowledges support from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Diamond Science and Technology (EP/L015315/1). The work was supported by grants from the European Commission (Wavelength tunable Advanced Single Photon Sources (WASPS), grant agreement no 618078), the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, (EP/M013243/1) and The Leverhulme Trust.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Chen, YC., Salter, P., Knauer, S. et al. Laser writing of coherent colour centres in diamond. Nature Photon 11, 77–80 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2016.234
Advances in Physics: X (2021)
Understanding femtosecond laser internal scribing of diamond by atomic simulation: Phase transition, structure and property
A theoretical study of de-charging excitations of the NV-center in diamond involving a nitrogen donor
New Journal of Physics (2021)
ACS Photonics (2021)
Advanced Quantum Technologies (2021)