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Surface-induced charge state conversion of nitrogen-vacancy defects in nanodiamonds

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Original languageEnglish
Article number115449
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


We present a study of the charge state conversion of single nitrogen-vacancy (NV) defects hosted in nanodiamonds (NDs). We first show that the proportion of negatively charged NV- defects, with respect to its neutral counterpart NV0, decreases with the size of the ND. We then propose a simple model based on a layer of electron traps located at the ND surface which is in good agreement with the recorded statistics. By using thermal oxidation to remove the shell of amorphous carbon around the NDs, we demonstrate a significant increase in the proportion of NV- defects in 10 nm NDs. These results are invaluable for further understanding, control, and use of the unique properties of negatively charged NV defects in diamond.