Super-resolution imaging of quantum emitters in layered materials

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Layered van der Waals materials are emerging as compelling two-dimensional (2D) platforms for studies of nanophotonics, polaritonics, valleytronics and spintronics, and have the potential to transform applications in sensing, imaging and quantum information processing. Amongst these, hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is unique in that it hosts ultra-bright, room temperature single photon emitters (SPEs). However, an outstanding challenge is to locate SPEs in hBN with high precision, a task which requires breaking the optical diffraction limit. Here, we report the imaging of SPEs in layered hBN with a spatial resolution of 63 nm using ground state depletion (GSD) nanoscopy. Furthermore, we show that SPEs in hBN possess nonlinear photophysical properties which can be used to realize a new variant of GSD that employs a coincident pair of doughnut-shaped lasers to reduce the laser power that is needed to achieve a given resolution target. Our findings expand the current understanding of the photophysics of quantum emitters in layered hBN and demonstrate the potential for advanced nanophotonic and bio-imaging applications which require localization of individual emitters with super-resolution accuracy.
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