Photoinduced Modification of Single-Photon Emitters in Hexagonal Boron Nitride

Zav Shotan, Harishankar Jayakumar, Christopher R. Considine, Mažena Mackoit, Helmut Fedder, Jörg Wrachtrup, Audrius Alkauskas, Marcus W. Doherty, Vinod M. Menon, Carlos A. Meriles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fluorescent defects recently observed under ambient conditions in hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) promise to open novel opportunities for the implementation of on-chip photonic devices that rely on identical photons from single emitters. Here we report on the room-temperature photoluminescence dynamics of individual emitters in multilayer h-BN flakes exposed to blue laser light. Comparison of optical spectra recorded at successive times reveals considerable spectral diffusion, possibly the result of slowly fluctuating, trapped-carrier-induced Stark shifts. Large spectral jumps - reaching up to 100 nm - followed by bleaching are observed in most cases upon prolonged exposure to blue light, an indication of one-directional photochemical changes possibly taking place on the flake surface. Remarkably, only a fraction of the observed emitters also fluoresce on green illumination, suggesting a more complex optical excitation dynamics than previously anticipated and raising questions on the physical nature of the crystal defect at play.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2490-2496
Number of pages7
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 21 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
H.J. and C.A.M. acknowledge support from Research Corporation via a FRED Award and from the National Science Foundation through award NSF-1545649. A.A. and M.M. acknowledge the support of the Research Council of Lithuania via Grant No. M-ERA.NET-1/2015, as well as computational resources at the High Performance Computing Center HPC Sauletekis (Physics Department, Vilnius University). Z.S., C.R.C., and V.M.M. acknowldege support from NSF through the EFRI-2-DARE program (EFMA - 1542863). J.W. and H.F. thank the German Science Foundation (DFG) and Max Planck Society. V.M.M. and C.A.M. acknowledge partial support from the National Science Foundation via the CREST-IDEALS Grant NSF-1547830.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • hexagonal boron nitride
  • optical spectroscopy
  • single-photon emitters
  • spectral jumps


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