Charge Dynamics in near-Surface, Variable-Density Ensembles of Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers in Diamond

Siddharth Dhomkar, Harishankar Jayakumar, Pablo R. Zangara, Carlos A. Meriles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Although the spin properties of superficial shallow nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers have been the subject of extensive scrutiny, considerably less attention has been devoted to studying the dynamics of NV charge conversion near the diamond surface. Using multicolor confocal microscopy, here we show that near-surface point defects arising from high-density ion implantation dramatically increase the ionization and recombination rates of shallow NVs compared to those in bulk diamond. Further, we find that these rates grow linearly, not quadratically, with laser intensity, indicative of single-photon processes enabled by NV state mixing with other defect states. Accompanying these findings, we observe NV ionization and recombination in the dark, likely the result of charge transfer to neighboring traps. Despite the altered charge dynamics, we show that one can imprint rewritable, long-lasting patterns of charged-initialized, near-surface NVs over large areas, an ability that could be exploited for electrochemical biosensing or to optically store digital data sets with subdiffraction resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4046-4052
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 13 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Marcus Doherty and Audrius Alkauskas for fruitful discussion and Jacob Henshaw for assistance with some of the experiments. We also thank Professor Vinod Menon for providing access to a high-resolution optical spectrometer. All authors acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation through Grants NSF-1619896 and NSF-1401632 and from Research Corporation for Science Advancement through a FRED Award. The authors acknowledge the facilities and research infrastructure support of the NSF CREST-IDEALS, NSF Grant HRD-1547830.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.


  • Diamond
  • charge dynamics.
  • near-surface nitrogen-vacancy centers


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