Cavity-enhanced quantum network nodes in diamond

M.T. Ruf

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

1142 Downloads (Pure)


With their ability to process and transfer quantum information, large-scale entanglement-based quantum networks could be at the heart of a new age of quantum information, enabling fundamentally new applications such as distributed quantum computation, quantum communication, and quantum enhanced sensing. Due to their long spin coherence, controllable local qubit registers and optically active spins, color centers in diamond are prime candidates for nodes of such a network, and have enabled some of the most advanced quantum network demonstrations to date. These demonstrations include the distribution of a 3-node GHZ state across a quantum network, entanglement swapping, entanglement distillation, and memory-enhanced quantum communication. To move beyond current proof-of-principle networks, a further increase of entanglement generation rates is crucial. This thesis presents theoretical and experimental work on enhancing the spin-photon interface of color centers in diamond to achieve this goal, making use of the Purcell effect. The discussed work follows two main directions: embedding of color centers in open, tuneable Fabry-Perot micro-cavities, and in all-diamond photonic crystal cavities.

First, we describe theoretical and experimental progress towards cavity-enhanced quantum networks based on nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond. Due to their first order sensitivity to electric fields, we choose to embed NV centers in microns-thin diamond membranes that can be integrated into open fiber-based micro-cavities. We develop analytical methods to optimize the design of such open cavity systems for maximum Purcell enhancement of embedded color centers. We demonstrate a method to fabricate optically coherent NV centers in microns-thin diamond membranes, and use such structures to demonstrate the resonant excitation and detection of coherent, Purcell enhanced NV emission. A theoretical model in excellent agreement with our results suggests our system can improve entanglement rates between distant NV centers by two orders of magnitude with near-term improvements to the setup.

Second, we describe progress towards an efficient spin-photon interface of group-IV color centers in diamond by coupling them to photonic nanostructures, allowing for large-scale integration. Due to their first-order insensitivity to electric fields, group-IV color centers can be brought in close proximity to surfaces (~ 100 nm), allowing for sub-wavelength mode volumes and thus very high Purcell factors. We numerically optimize photonic crystal cavity designs to maximize the Purcell enhancement of embedded emitters, test the robustness of our designs to real-world fabrication imperfections, and devise a method to efficiently interface nanophotonic structures. We then proceed to fabricate all-diamond photonic crystal cavities, making use of a dry etching technique that is selective to different crystallographic directions, and characterize the resulting optical quality factors. Finally, we marry the developed fabrication methods to fabricate microns-sized diamond platelets that can be transferred from a holding frame in a controlled fashion. This capability could be crucial for the realization of hybrid photonic circuits that we expect to be at the heart of future large-scale quantum networks.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Hanson, R., Supervisor
  • Taminiau, T.H., Advisor
Award date21 Sept 2021
Print ISBNs978-90-8593-483-7
Electronic ISBNs978-90-8593-483-7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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