State-Selective Intersystem Crossing in Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers

April 10, 2015
Fig. 2

Fig 2: Schematic of (left) the phonon-induced mixing within the 3E manifold and (right) the stages of the ISC from the 3E manifold to the |1 A1› state. [Reprinted by permission from APS*].

The intersystem crossing (ISC) is an important process in many solid-state atomlike impurities. For example, it allows the electronic spin state of the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond to be initialized and read out using optical fields at ambient temperatures. This capability has enabled a wide array of applications in metrology and quantum information science.

Prof. Mikhail Lukin, with members of his group and colleagues from Australian National University, developed a microscopic model of the state-selective ISC from the optical excited state manifold of the NV center. In a recent paper* in Physical Reviw B, the researchers quantitatively demonstrate that their model is consistent with recent ISC measurements, by correlating the electron-phonon interactions that mediate the ISC with those that induce population dynamics within the NV center's excited state manifold and those that produce the phonon sidebands of its optical transitions. They also show that their model constrains the unknown energy spacings between the center's spin-singlet and spin-triplet levels and discuss prospects to engineer the ISC in order to improve the spin initialization and readout fidelities of NV centers.

*M.L. Goldman, M.W. Doherty, A. Sipahigil, N.Y. Yao, S.D. Bennett, N.B. Manson, A. Kubanek, and M.D. Lukin, "State-selective intersystem crossing in nitrogen-vacancy centers," Phys. Rev. B 91:165201 (8 April 2015)