Synthesis of luminescent europium defects in diamond

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Journal Article
Nature Communications, 2014, 5
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© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Lanthanides are vital components in lighting, imaging technologies and future quantum memory applications owing to their narrow optical transitions and long spin coherence times. Recently, diamond has become a pre-eminent platform for the realisation of many experiments in quantum information science. Here we demonstrate a promising approach to incorporate Eu ions into diamond, providing a means to harness the exceptional characteristics of both lanthanides and diamond in a single material. Polyelectrolytes are used to electrostatically assemble Eu(III) chelate molecules on diamond and subsequently chemical vapour deposition is employed for the diamond growth. Fluorescence measurements show that the Eu atoms retain the characteristic optical signature of Eu(III) upon incorporation into the diamond lattice. Computational modelling supports the experimental findings, corroborating that Eu(III) in diamond is a stable configuration. The formed defects demonstrate the outstanding chemical control over the incorporation of impurities into diamond enabled by the electrostatic assembly together with chemical vapour deposition growth.
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