Quantum emission from hexagonal boron nitride monolayers

Nat Nanotechnol. 2016 Jan;11(1):37-41. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2015.242. Epub 2015 Oct 26.


Artificial atomic systems in solids are widely considered the leading physical system for a variety of quantum technologies, including quantum communications, computing and metrology. To date, however, room-temperature quantum emitters have only been observed in wide-bandgap semiconductors such as diamond and silicon carbide, nanocrystal quantum dots, and most recently in carbon nanotubes. Single-photon emission from two-dimensional materials has been reported, but only at cryogenic temperatures. Here, we demonstrate room-temperature, polarized and ultrabright single-photon emission from a colour centre in two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride. Density functional theory calculations indicate that vacancy-related defects are a probable source of the emission. Our results demonstrate the unprecedented potential of van der Waals crystals for large-scale nanophotonics and quantum information processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't