Purdue University Graduate School

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Fundamental Studies of SiN Interfacial Defects for Quantum Photonics

posted on 2024-05-21, 14:40 authored by Zachariah Olson MartinZachariah Olson Martin

Quantum photonics is one of the leading platforms to realize quantum information technologies. Quantum emitters embedded in host materials which can readily form photonic circuitry elements have received significant research interest in recent years for on-chip quantum information processing applications. In this work, we report on the discovery of bright, stable, and linearly polarized quantum emitters in SiN films with room temperature single photon generation. We suggest that the emission originates from a specific defect center in SiN because of the narrow wavelength distribution of the observed luminescence peak.

We further probe these emitters’ fundamental photophysical properties through measurements of optical transition wavelengths, linewidths, and photon antibunching as a function of temperature. Important insight into the potential for lifetime-limited linewidths is provided through measurements of inhomogeneous and temperature-dependent broadening of the zero-phonon lines. At 4.2K, spectral diffusion was found to be the main broadening mechanism, while spectroscopy time series revealed zero-phonon lines with instrument-limited linewidths.

Along with the optical properties of the quantum emitters, we study their formation mechanisms by investigating the effects of sample composition and thermal annealing parameters. From these measurements, we gain critical insight into the fundamental nature of the quantum emitters in SiN, as well as the dependence of their photophysical properties on the changes in the host material. Additionally, we explore alternative SiN fabrication approaches and the optical properties of the SiN films developed with these techniques. We then investigate quantum emitter formation and hypothesize why the optical properties of the defects in each type of film differ.

Finally, we begin preliminary investigations into the possible existence of near-infrared (NIR) emitting defects in SiN, as well as single-photon electroluminescence from thin SiN-on-silica films embedded in p-n heterojunctions.

The single-photon emitters in SiN we have studied extensively in this work have the potential to enable scalable and low-loss integration of quantum light sources with a mature on-chip photonics platform.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Alexandra Boltasseva

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Vladimir M. Shalaev

Additional Committee Member 2

Alexander V. Kildishev

Additional Committee Member 3

Zubin Jacob

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