Narrowband Quantum Light Emission from Oxygen-Related Color Centers in Hexagonal Boron Nitride

Seyed Sepehr Mohajerani, Siwei Chen, Aida Alaei, Tsengming Chou, Na Liu, Yichen Ma, Licheng Xiao, Stephanie S. Lee, Eui Hyeok Yang, Stefan Strauf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is attracting increasing attention for quantum information science due to its ability to host carbon-related color centers that perform as robust, high-temperature quantum light sources, as well as native defects such as charged VB- centers with optically addressable spin states toward spin-based quantum applications. So far, achieving isolation of individual VB- defects out of ensemble emission remains difficult due to their low quantum yield, warranting the search for other candidates. Here, we show that oxygen annealing creates individual quantum emitters characterized by a phonon-sideband-free emission in the 800 nm band. The emission is strongly linearly polarized (79%), with a characteristic emission dipole rotation of 20° and a saturation intensity around 1 MHz, comparable to the brightest hBN quantum emitters reported previously. Their time dynamics appear free of spectral diffusion or blinking, implying excellent room-temperature photostability without additional passivation techniques. Detailed cryogenic studies estimate zero pump power line width down to 87.5 μeV, which is several orders of magnitude narrower compared to carbon-related or VB- defect center emission under nonresonant excitation. The demonstrated photophysical properties of oxygen-related quantum emitters are promising to advance free-space quantum communication and might enable indistinguishable single photons or interfacing with 87Rb vapor-based quantum memory technologies in future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Photonics
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • antibunching
  • dipole orientation
  • hexagonal boron nitride
  • indistinguishable single photons
  • oxygen annealing
  • photostability
  • quantum emitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biotechnology
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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