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Liebermeister, Lars (2015): Photonic waveguides evanescently coupled with single NV-centers. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics



The interaction of photons with individual quantum systems is a very fundamental process in physics. Thereby, the emission rate as well as the angular emission pattern of a quantum emitter are not only a function of intrinsic properties of the emitter itself, but are also strongly modified by its surrounding. For instance, by restricting the optical modes which are allowed at the position of the dipole, the emission rate can be strongly modified and the emitted photons can be directed into specific optical modes. This effect can be demonstrated by the interaction of a single optically active quantum emitter with the strongly confined optical mode of a single-mode dielectric waveguide. Efficient coupling of the emitter to the dielectric structure can be achieved by placing the quantum emitter inside the evanescent field of the guided mode. This evanescent field coupling mechanism is discussed and demonstrated experimentally. A single nitrogen-vacancy center (NV-center), hosted in a nanodiamond is deterministically coupled to a tapered optical fiber (TOF) via the evanescent field of its guided mode (coupling efficiencies exceeding 30% are predicted). By employing an AFM-based nanomanipulation technique, the diamond nanocrystal is placed on the nanofiber waist of the TOF. Beforehand, the diamond nanocrystal has been characterized to guarantee that it hosts only one fluorescing NV-center. While the diamond nanocrystal is optically exited, single photon fluorescence of the NV-center is detected at both outputs of the tapered optical fiber. This verifies the evanescent coupling of the emitter to the guided mode. In order to quantify the coupling, the comparison of the emission rate into free space with the rate into the fiber yields that 10.0(5) of the emitted photons are coupled into the tapered optical fiber. In the determination of this value, the orientation of the emitting dipoles and the emission pattern, which are modified by the TOF, have been considered. The NV-center features a broad emission spectrum which can be used to investigate the wavelength-dependence of the coupling. Comparing the spectra of the emission into the fiber mode with the emission into free space modes roughly resembles the expected wavelength dependency of the coupling efficiency. The evanescent coupling and the deterministic positioning of preselected fluorescing diamond nanocrystals, which has been demonstrated with the TOF, can be applied to other waveguide structures as well. Dielectric single-mode waveguides made of Ta2O5 on a SiO2 substrate promise similar coupling efficiencies to tapered optical fibers (above 30%). With the design of the on-chip wave-guiding structure being flexible, the combination with other optical on-chip elements is feasible, rendering it a promising platform for on-chip photonic experiments. Test structures of this waveguide design are realized using lithographic processes and are characterized. These waveguides are equipped with inverted taper structures to allow efficient off-chip coupling with butt-coupling to standard single-mode fibers. The evanescent coupling of a single quantum emitter to a singe optical mode can be used to efficiently collect emission of the quantum emitter. This can help building a compact single photon source and is beneficial for the optical read-out of the quantum emitter's internal degree of freedom, which can be either used as probe (sensing) or as information-storage. Utilizing the high coupling efficiency, for instance, the non-linearities of the quantum system can be exploited to build a single photon transistor. The evanescent coupling is very broadband (about hundred nanometers), allowing to efficiently collect emission from broadband emitters like the NV-center, but it can also be used for multi-wavelength manipulation schemes.