Coupling of SiC color centers to nanophotonic structures

Funding type: COFUND Marie Slodowska Curie Action

Thesis Directors : Ségolène Callard / Stefania Castelletto

Co-supervisor : Jean-Marie Bluet

Expected start date: 01/10/2020

Collaborations/External partners:

Co-supervision between INL-ECL and RMIT.

IPNL-Lyon: proton irradiation

Domain and scientific context :

Point-like defects in wide-bandgap materials are attracting intensive research attention owing to prospective applications in quantum technologies (information processing, sensing) and in near-infrared spectrum bio-imaging. The reason is three-fold: (i) these defects can be considered as artificial atoms with highly efficient optical transitions (single-photon sources realization); (ii) they may encompass charge, orbital and spin degrees of freedom, with possibility for instance of optical control of the spin (Qubit application); (iii) the spin and electronic states can be well isolated from environmental fluctuations leading to record spin coherence. In this context, the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond has become a highly mature system, used for a large range of applications. Nevertheless, since 2010, point defects in SiC have been intensively studied. Indeed, SiC presents advantages for these applications: (i) growth at an industrial scale ; (ii) control of the technological steps for devices realization thanks to the upstream of power electronic applications ; (iii) unparalleled properties making SiC an ideal platform for photonic quantum information processing.


The goal of the thesis is to realize and characterize SiC photonics structures (nanopillars) with embedded color centers (Si vacancy (VSi) and Nitrogen – Carbon vacancy complex (NCVSi)).  The enhancement of photoluminescence (PL) emission both by collection efficiency improvement and/or spontaneous emission rate increase (Purcell effect) will be evaluated and will allow for characterization of optical spin control (Optically Detected Magnetic Resonance experiment) at single defect level. The expected demonstration of the optical spin-control in these structures will allow to use them as building block for applications in integrated quantum nanophotonics circuits. These circuits can be used for quantum sensing and quantum network applications.

Expected original contributions :

Optimization of VSi and NCVSi magneto-optical properties and will allow coherent manipulation, measurement and entanglement using optical fields. Based on single NCVSi and VSi center, we will work towards the formation of spin-photon entanglement state, which is an essential part towards quantum network and distributed quantum computation. By applying engineering dispersion, specific lattice structures with NCVSi center embedded in pillars will be designed to obtain stationary modes extended over the pillars and lead to possible superradiance effect towards the formation of integrated IR source at 1.3µm on SiC.

Research program and methodology :

The project will be benefit from initial collaborative studies started between INL and RMIT. Indeed, a process for nanopillars realization has been developed at INL and the optical characterization of a first batch has been realized at RMIT.

First year: Optimisation of nanopillars process (Nanolyon platform) ; simulation for pillar lattices design (INL-ECL), color center realization (Protons irradiation at IPNL).  Optical characterization (collective INL, single RMIT). 9 month at INL 3 at RMIT.

Second year: Magneto-optical characterization at RMIT (N-Storm Microscope from MNRF) ; new nanopillar sample realization and field cartography by SNOM (INL). 3 month at RMIT, 9 at INL.

Third year: Optical and magneto optical characterization at RMIT at single defect level, super-resolution in biological systems RMIT,  results valorisation and thesis writing at INL. 6 month  at RMIT, 6 month at INL.

As mentioned in the research program, the project will covers different fields: nanotechnology, nanomaterials and photonics. It will require development of skills in (i) technological realization in clean room, (ii) numerical simulation for structure design and (iii) optical + magneto-optical characterization.

Profile of the candidate :

Master degree in the field of nanoscience or nanomaterials with knowledge in quantum photonics.

Bibliographic references about the PhD topic :

A recent review paper Authored by one of the Supervisor, Prof S. Castelletto

Lohrmann, A, Johnson, BC, McCallum, JC & Castelletto, S 2017, ‘A review on single photon sources in silicon carbide’, Reports on Progress in Physics, vol. 80, no. 3

A recent paper dealing with the first results on color centers in SiC pillars has been published by our groups :

Casteletto, A.S. Al Atem,, F.A. Inam, H.J. Von Bardeleben, S. Hameau, A.F. Almutairi, G. Guillot, S. Sato, A. Boretti and J.M. Bluet

“Deterministic placement of ultra-bright near infrared color centers in arrays of silicon carbide micropillars.” Bellstein J. Nanotechnol. 2019, 10, 2383-2395. DOI : 10.3762/bjnano.10.229


Pr. Ségolène Callard, INL

Pr. Jean-Marie Bluet, INL
Ass. Pr. Stefania Castelletto, RMIT

Full informations :