DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2023.0169 ISSN: 1364-503X

Rare isotope-containing diamond colour centres for fundamental symmetry tests

Ian M. Morris, Kai Klink, Jaideep T. Singh, Jose L. Mendoza-Cortes, Shannon S. Nicley, Jonas N. Becker
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Engineering
  • General Mathematics

Detecting a non-zero electric dipole moment in a particle would unambiguously signify physics beyond the Standard Model. A potential pathway towards this is the detection of a nuclear Schiff moment, the magnitude of which is enhanced by the presence of nuclear octupole deformation. However, due to the low production rate of isotopes featuring such ‘pear-shaped’ nuclei, capturing, detecting and manipulating them efficiently is a crucial prerequisite. Incorporating them into synthetic diamond optical crystals can produce defects with defined, molecule-like structures and isolated electronic states within the diamond band gap, increasing capture efficiency, enabling repeated probing of even a single atom and producing narrow optical linewidths. In this study, we used density functional theory to investigate the formation, structure and electronic properties of crystal defects in diamond containing 229 Pa , a rare isotope that is predicted to have an exceptionally strong nuclear octupole deformation. In addition, we identified and studied stable lanthanide-containing defects with similar electronic structures as non-radioactive proxies to aid in experimental methods. Our findings hold promise for the existence of such defects and can contribute to the development of a quantum information processing-inspired toolbox of techniques for studying rare isotopes.

This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue ‘Diamond for quantum applications’.

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