Spin dynamics in the optical cycle of single nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond

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L. Robledo, H. Bernien, T. van der Sar, R. Hanson


New Journal of Physics13, 025013

We investigate spin-dependent decay and intersystem crossing (ISC) in the optical cycle of single negatively charged nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centres in diamond. We use spin control and pulsed optical excitation to extract both the spin-resolved lifetimes of the excited states and the degree of optically induced spin polarization. By optically exciting the centre with a series of picosecond pulses, we determine the spin-flip probabilities per optical cycle, as well as the spin-dependent probability for ISC. This information, together with the independently measured decay rate of singlet population, provides a full description of spin dynamics in the optical cycle of NV centres. The temperature dependence of the singlet population decay rate provides information about the number of singlet states involved in the optical cycle.