Diamond Materials

Diamond Materials for Quantum Application

23. September 2014: The DFG research group FOR 1493 “Diamond Materials and Quantum Applications” goes into its second funding period. FOR1493 is a national research consortium funded by the Deutsche Forsch-ungsgemeinschaft.

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ERC Advanced Grant


Single rare earth ions as photonic building blocks

Looking at individual fundamental building blocks of nature, like atoms and molecules, is always intriguing though challenging task. Detecting individual ions of rare-earth elements in laser crystals is such a challenging task because they yield very low light output when illuminated with a laser. At the same time, these ions, if detected, could become excellent quantum bits (qubits) for quantum computer. Recently, we succeeded in detection of single ions of one rare-earth species, namely praseodymium, in an artificial gem-stone yttrium aluminum garnet crystal and in nanometer sized particles of that crystal. The most peculiar feature of praseodymium ions is that they can emit an ultraviolet light once illuminate with a blue laser. We have shown that this ultraviolet radiation can strongly affect the environment in close proximity to the emitting ions. In particular, we have demonstrated that cancerous cells die because of this radiation and that the emitted ultraviolet can expose photosensitive chemicals like photoresists used in chip production. Thus, apart from potential use in quantum computers, the discovered single rare-earth ions might become valuable additions to modern nano- and biophotonics.

Further details:
Optical detection of a single rare-earth ion in a crystal
R. Kolesov et al. Nature Communications 3, 1029 doi:10.1038/ncomms2034