Rare isotope-containing diamond colour centres for fundamental symmetry tests

TitleRare isotope-containing diamond colour centres for fundamental symmetry tests
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMorris, IM, Klink, K, Singh, JT, Mendoza-Cortes, JL, Nicley, SS, Becker, JN
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Date Published2023/12/04

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 229Pa, 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.

Short TitlePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A