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Nat Nanotechnol. 2010 Mar;5(3):195-9. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2010.6. Epub 2010 Feb 14.

A diamond nanowire single-photon source.

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School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


The development of a robust light source that emits one photon at a time will allow new technologies such as secure communication through quantum cryptography. Devices based on fluorescent dye molecules, quantum dots and carbon nanotubes have been demonstrated, but none has combined a high single-photon flux with stable, room-temperature operation. Luminescent centres in diamond have recently emerged as a stable alternative, and, in the case of nitrogen-vacancy centres, offer spin quantum bits with optical readout. However, these luminescent centres in bulk diamond crystals have the disadvantage of low photon out-coupling. Here, we demonstrate a single-photon source composed of a nitrogen-vacancy centre in a diamond nanowire, which produces ten times greater flux than bulk diamond devices, while using ten times less power. This result enables a new class of devices for photonic and quantum information processing based on nanostructured diamond, and could have a broader impact in nanoelectromechanical systems, sensing and scanning probe microscopy.


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