# Synopsis: Chemical manipulation of nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond

Surface termination is used to chemically control the state of nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond.

A nitrogen-vacancy ($\text{NV}$) center in diamond is a point defect consisting of a nitrogen atom substituting for a carbon atom that sits beside a lattice vacancy. The defect with two well-known charge states, a neutral ${\text{NV}}^{0}$ and a negatively charged ${\text{NV}}^{-}$ state, has received considerable attention because of its unique photoluminescence properties in the visible range, allowing an optical readout of the spin state at room temperature. The excitement around the $\text{NV}$ centers in diamond comes from their potential use for spintronics applications and quantum computation.

In a recent Rapid Communication in Physical Review B, Moritz Hauf and collaborators from Technische Universität München, University of Stuttgart, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, all in Germany, have found a way to chemically control the charge state of NV centers in diamond. By changing the surface termination from oxygen to hydrogen, stable ${\text{NV}}^{-}$ centers, ion-implanted a few nanometers below the surface of diamond, are converted into an ${\text{NV}}^{0}$ state and subsequently into a nonfluorescent state. Hauf et al. also study numerically the band bending from the surface termination that induces a $p$-type surface conductive layer to deplete the electrons in the ${\text{NV}}^{-}$ centers underneath. The deeper the $\text{NV}$ centers are implanted into the crystal, the weaker is the effect of the surface termination. This work opens the way to an electrostatic means of switching the charge state of $\text{NV}$ centers using an external gate electrode, an important step forward for realizing spintronics applications. – Sarma Kancharla

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