All-Optical Initialization, Readout, and Coherent Preparation of Single Silicon-Vacancy Spins in Diamond

December 23, 2014

Figure 4: Optical access to spin levels of SiV− in diamond. (a) A SiV− center consists of a silicon atom between two vacant lattice sites and is aligned along a <111> crystal bond direction.[From: L.J. Rogers, K.D. Jahnke, M.H. Metsch, A. Sipahigil, et al., "All-Optical Initialization, Readout, and Coherent Preparation of Single Silicon-Vacancy Spins in Diamond," Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 263602 (22 December 2014) | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.263602]

The silicon-vacancy (SiV‾) color center in diamond has attracted attention because of its unique optical properties. It exhibits spectral stability and indistinguishability that facilitate efficient generation of photons capable of demonstrating quantum interference. A collaboration led by researchers at Ulm University in Germany and Harvard University, including grad student Alp Sipahigil and Prof. Mikhail Lukin, has published a paper in Physical Review Letters which shows optical initialization and readout of electronic spin in a single center with a spin relaxation time of T1 = 2.4 ± 0.2 ms. Coherent population trapping (CPT) is used to demonstrate coherent preparation of dark superposition states with a spin coherence time T*1 = 35 ± 3 ns. This is fundamentally limited by orbital relaxation, and an understanding of this process opens the way to extend coherence by engineering interactions with phonons. Hyperfine structure is observed in CPT measurements with the 29SI isotope which allows access to nuclear spin. These results establish the SiV‾ center as a solid-state spin-photon interface.

The papers is featured in the APS Editors' "Highlights of the Year" article.