Silver Columnar Thin-Film-Based Half-Wavelength Antennas for Bright Directional Emission from Nanodiamond Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Physical Review Applied, 2019, 11 (3)
Issue Date:
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© 2019 American Physical Society. Nitrogen-vacancy (N-V) centers in nanodiamond (ND) are a promising single-photon-source candidate for quantum technology. However, the poor N-V emission rate and low outcoupling of light significantly hinder their effective use in practical implementations. To overcome this limit, we place NDs hosting N-V centers on silver columnar thin films (CTFs) and measure an increase in emission by an order of magnitude. The CTFs consist of silver nanocolumns the length of which is chosen to be half the wavelength of the emitted light. The silver nanocolumns act as efficient optical antennas that couple to the N-V centers via the optical near field and outcouple the excitation energy of the N-V centers effectively into the optical far field. A large distribution of radiated powers from different NDs is observed. Computer simulations show this distribution to arise from the different orientations of the emitting dipoles with respect to the columnar axis. We also report that further structuring of the silver CTF into gratings yields higher photon emission.
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