Dynamically tuned non-classical light emission from atomic defects in hexagonal boron nitride

Snežana Lazić, André Espinha, Sergio Pinilla Yanguas, Carlos Gibaja, Félix Zamora, Pablo Ares, Manish Chhowalla, Wendel S. Paz, Juan José Palacios Burgos, Alberto Hernández-Mínguez, Paulo V. Santos, Herko P. van der Meulen

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Luminescent defects in hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) have recently emerged as a promising platform for non-classical light emission. On-chip solutions, however, require techniques for controllable in-situ manipulation of quantum light. Here, we demonstrate the dynamic spectral and temporal tuning of the optical emission from h-BN via moving acousto-mechanical modulation induced by stimulated phonons. When perturbed by the propagating acoustic phonon, the optically probed radiative h-BN defects are periodically strained and their sharp emission lines are modulated by the deformation potential coupling. This results in an acoustically driven spectral tuning within a 2.5-meV bandwidth. Our findings, supported by first-principles theoretical calculations, reveal exceptionally high elasto-optic coupling in h-BN of ~50 meV/%. Temporal control of the emitted photons is achieved by combining the acoustically mediated fine-spectral tuning with spectral detection filtering. This study opens the door to the use of sound for scalable integration of h-BN emitters in nanophotonic and quantum information technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113
JournalCommunications physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2019


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