14 October 2013 An optical switch based on a single nanodiamond

Nanomanipulation of an artificial atom

Collaboration between ICFO’s Nanophotonic Theory and Plasmon Nano-optics groups in Nature Physics. A paper published in Nature Physics entitled “Fast Optical modulation of the fluorescence from a single NV center” showcases an ICFO collaboration between the research group led by ICREA Prof. Javier Garcia de Abajo (Theory) and the group led by ICREA Prof. Romain Quidant (experimental). Together, the groups demonstrated that a nano-size diamond at room temperature can act as an efficient optical switch. They identified and experimentally demonstrated a novel physical mechanism that enables to efficiently control with light the ratio between radiative and non radiative desexcitation pathways. Based on this mechanism the fluorescence from the nanodiamond can be modulated at very high speed. By combining nanometer size with fast response time and operation at room temperature, such an optical nanoswitch is foreseen to become a key building block in the development of future integrated quantum optical circuits.