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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 May 11;108(19):197601. Epub 2012 May 11.

Temperature- and magnetic-field-dependent longitudinal spin relaxation in nitrogen-vacancy ensembles in diamond.

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Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


We present an experimental study of the longitudinal electron-spin relaxation time (T1) of negatively charged nitrogen-vacancy (NV) ensembles in diamond. T1 was studied as a function of temperature from 5 to 475 K and magnetic field from 0 to 630 G for several samples with various NV and nitrogen concentrations. Our studies reveal three processes responsible for T1 relaxation. Above room temperature, a two-phonon Raman process dominates; below room temperature, we observe an Orbach-type process with an activation energy of 73(4) meV, which closely matches the local vibrational modes of the NV center. At yet lower temperatures, sample dependent cross-relaxation processes dominate, resulting in temperature independent values of T1 from milliseconds to minutes. The value of T1 in this limit depends sensitively on the magnetic field and can be tuned by more than 1 order of magnitude.

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