Generation of luminescent color centers in silicon carbide for quantum technology

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Publication of PhD student Maximilian Rühl appears as featured article in Applied Physics Letters

Atom-size light sources, which can emit single photons, are one of the building blocks for applications in quantum technology such as quantum cryptography and quantum computers. Molecules are possible candidates for such emitters, but they have to be captured in molecule traps. The required setups are large and not suited for implementation into applications. Therefore, scientists world-wide investigate luminescent defects in solids, which are much easier to handle and which can be implemented into microchips. The prototype defect, today, is the so-called NV center in diamond. However, recently, the focus turned to color centers in the semiconductor material silicon carbide (SiC), because this material is commercially available and the technology for fabricating SiC devices is mature.

Maximilian Rühl and his colleagues have systematically investigated the fabrication of luminescent color centers in SiC generated by proton irradiation and subsequent annealing. The proton irradiation – a technology which is particularly simple to implement in semiconductor technology – is used to damage the SiC crystal lattice. This creates defects which transform into other defects during the post-implantation anneal of the implantation damage. From their studies, Rühl and colleagues could derive recipes for the selective generation of the desired defects and, thus, of the desired color center. Moreover, they found a new yet unreported defect showing promising properties for the targeted applications.

The results have been published in the renowned scientific journal “Applied Physics Letters”. The editors of the journal even selected Rühl’s manuscript as a featured article, which is now visible on the journal’s cover.

Update October 1st, 2018: Our article is in the scientific news!