Vibrational modes of negatively charged silicon-vacancy centers in diamond from ab initio calculations

13 Jul 2018  ·  Londero Elisa, Thiering Gergő, Gali Adam, Alkauskas Audrius ·

Silicon-vacancy (SiV) center in diamond is a photoluminescence (PL) center with a characteristic zero-phonon line energy at 1.681~eV that acts as a solid-state single photon source and, potentially, as a quantum bit. The majority of the luminescence intensity appears in the zero-phonon line; nevertheless, about 30\% of the intensity manifests in the phonon sideband... Since phonons play an essential role in the operation of this system, it is of importance to understand the vibrational properties of the SiV center in detail. To this end, we carry out density functional theory calculations of dilute SiV centers by embedding the defect in supercells of a size of a few thousand atoms. We find that there exist two well-pronounced quasi-local vibrational modes (resonances) with $A_{2u}$ and $E_u$ symmetries, corresponding to the vibration of the Si atom along and perpendicular to the defect symmetry axis, respectively. Isotopic shifts of these modes explain the isotopic shifts of prominent vibronic features in the experimental SiV PL spectrum. Moreover, calculations show that the vibrational frequency of the $A_{2u}$ mode increases by about 30\% in the excited state with respect to the ground state, while the frequency of the $E_u$ mode increases by about 5\%. These changes explain experimentally observed isotopic shifts of the zero-phonon line energy. We also emphasize possible dangers of extracting isotopic shifts of vibrational resonances from finite-size supercell calculations, and instead propose a method to do this correctly. read more

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Quantum Physics Materials Science Computational Physics