The nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centre in diamond is emerging as a promising platform for solid-state quantum information processing and nanoscale metrology. Of interest in these applications is the manipulation of the NV charge, which can be attained by optical excitation. Here, we use two-colour optical microscopy to investigate the dynamics of NV photo-ionization, charge diffusion and trapping in type-1b diamond. We combine fixed-point laser excitation and scanning fluorescence imaging to locally alter the concentration of negatively charged NVs, and to subsequently probe the corresponding redistribution of charge. We uncover the formation of spatial patterns of trapped charge, which we qualitatively reproduce via a model of the interplay between photo-excited carriers and atomic defects. Further, by using the NV as a probe, we map the relative fraction of positively charged nitrogen on localized optical excitation. These observations may prove important to transporting quantum information between NVs or to developing three-dimensional, charge-based memories.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Michael Barson and Halley Aycock-Rizzo for their assistance with some of the experiments and sample preparation. H.J., J.H., S.D., D.P., A.L. and C.A.M. acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation through grant NSF-1314205. M.W.D. and N.B.M. acknowledge support from the Australian Research Council through grant DP120102232.
© 2016 The Author(s).