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Nanotechnology Now – Press Release: USTC increases the fluorescence brightness of a single silicon carbide spin color center

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Home > Press > USTC increases the fluorescence brightness of the color center of a single silicon carbide spin

Abstract:
In a study published online in Nano Letters, a team led by Prof. LI Chuanfeng and Dr. XU Jinshi of the University of Science and Technology of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences made progress in improving the fluorescence of single silicon carbide spin defects. The researchers utilized surface plasmons to markedly increase the fluorescence brightness of the silicon carbide single-vacancy PL6 color center, leading to increased spin control efficiency using the properties of co-planar waveguides. This low-cost method does not require complex micro-nano processing technology or compromise the color center coherence property.

USTC increases the fluorescence brightness of a single silicon carbide spin color center

Hefei, China | Posted on June 9, 2023

The center of the spin color in solid-state systems is critical for quantum information processing, and its fluorescence brightness is a vital parameter for practical quantum applications. Traditionally, enhancing the fluorescence of spin color centers involves coupling them with solid-state micro-nanostructures, a common method that includes various schemes such as fabrication of solid-immersion lenses, nano-pillars, bull’s-eye structures, photonic micro-cavities and fiber cavities. However, challenges remain such as the susceptibility of the color center spin properties to complex micro-nano fabrication processes, and the difficulty of aligning certain color centers with micro-nano structures.

Pioneering a new approach, the team used plasmons to increase the fluorescence of spin centers in silicon carbide. The researchers prepared thin films of silicon carbide about 10 micrometers thick through chemical and mechanical polishing. They used ion implantation technology to create a divacancy color center near the inner surface of the film. The film is inverted and affixed to a silicon wafer coated with a coplanar gold waveguide, exploiting van der Waals forces. This placement allows the near-surface color center to be under the influence of the gold waveguide surface plasmon, thereby increasing the fluorescence of the color center.

Using an objective lens (with a numerical aperture of 0.85) and a surface plasmon enhancement effect, the researchers achieved a sevenfold increase in brightness of a single PL6 color center. With an oil lens with a numerical aperture of 1.3, the fluorescence of the color center exceeds one million counts per second.

In addition, the researchers were able to precisely manipulate the distance between the near-surface color center and the coplanar waveguide by adjusting the film thickness with a reactive ion etching process, which allowed them to study the optimal operating range. In addition to generating surface plasmons, coplanar gold waveguides can be used to efficiently radiate microwaves, significantly increasing the spin control efficiency. Coplanar waveguide increases the Rabi frequency of a single PL6 color center by 14 times under the same microwave power compared to conventional microwave radiation methods.

In addition, the researchers investigated the mechanism of the fluorescence enhancement. By fitting the autocorrelation function using a three-level model and measuring the lifetime of non-resonant excitation fluorescence, they confirmed that surface plasmons increase fluorescence brightness by increasing the radiation transition rate of the color center energy level. They also found that as the interaction distance decreased, the surface plasmon extinguishing effect resulted in a decrease in the fluorescence brightness of the color center.

This work marks the first implementation of plasmon-enhanced fluorescence of a near-surface spin color center in a silicon carbide film. Preparation of the coplanar gold waveguide is very easy without any complex upgrading structures or alignment processes. This method also enhances the fluorescence of other spin color centers in silicon carbide, which is a significant step forward in applying silicon carbide materials to the field of quantum science.

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Contact:
Jane Fans
China University of Science and Technology

Copyright © China University of Science and Technology

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