Room-Temperature Photochromism of Silicon Vacancy Centers in CVD Diamond

Alexander Wood, Artur Lozovoi, Zi Huai Zhang, Sachin Sharma, Gabriel I. López-Morales, Harishankar Jayakumar, Nathalie P. de Leon, Carlos A. Meriles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The silicon vacancy (SiV) center in diamond is typically found in three stable charge states, SiV0, SiV-, and SiV2-, but studying the processes leading to their formation is challenging, especially at room temperature, due to their starkly different photoluminescence rates. Here, we use confocal fluorescence microscopy to activate and probe charge interconversion between all three charge states under ambient conditions. In particular, we witness the formation of SiV0 via the two-step capture of diffusing, photogenerated holes, a process we expose both through direct SiV0 fluorescence measurements at low temperatures and confocal microscopy observations in the presence of externally applied electric fields. In addition, we show that continuous red illumination induces the converse process, first transforming SiV0 into SiV- and then into SiV2-. Our results shed light on the charge dynamics of SiV and promise opportunities for nanoscale sensing and quantum information processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1022
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 8 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science


  • charge dynamics
  • color center photochromism
  • diamond
  • silicon vacancy centers


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