High-voltage in-situ quantum magnetic detection based on silicon carbide color center

Recently, Liu Xiaodi, researcher of the Institute of Solid State Physics, Hefei Institute of Physical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and others cooperated with Professor Li Chuanfeng, Professor Xu Jinshi and researcher Wang Junfeng (now Sichuan University) of the University of Science and Technology of China, and realized the first high-voltage in-situ quantum magnetic detection based on silicon vacancy color center in silicon carbide in the world. This technology is of great significance in the field of high-pressure superconducting and magnetic materials. The results of the study were recently published in Nature Materials Science.

Rendering of high-voltage in-situ magnetic detection based on silicon carbide to silicon vacancy color center of top anvil. Photo courtesy of the research group

At present, high-pressure technology has been widely used in many fields, including physics, materials science, geophysics and chemistry. In recent years, the hydride system under high pressure has achieved near-room temperature superconductivity, which has attracted great attention. However, in situ high-resolution magnetic measurement has always been a difficult problem in high-voltage scientific research, and has restricted the progress of high-voltage superconducting Meissner effect and magnetic phase transition behavior. 

In response to this problem, the research team studied the silicon carbide color center spin system and found that the silicon carbide color center can be used for high-voltage magnetic detection research. Further, the research team processed the silicon carbide top anvil, replacing the commonly used diamond top anvil, and generated a shallow silicon vacancy color center by ion implantation on the silicon carbide anvil surface, and used the light color center to achieve in situ magnetic detection under high pressure. Due to the special symmetry of its electronic structure, the zero-field splitting of the electron spin of the color center is not sensitive to temperature, which can well avoid the multi-axial spectrum difficulty and temperature change problem of diamond NV color center in high-pressure sensing applications. 

The research team studied the optical and spin properties of silicon-vacancy color centers under high pressure, and found that their spectra would undergo a blue shift, and its spin zero-field splitting value changed very little with pressure, much less than the change slope of diamond NV color center of 14.6 MHz/gigapa, which will be conducive to measuring and analyzing the optical detection magnetic resonance spectrum under high pressure. Based on this, the research group observed the piezogenic magnetic phase transition of the NdFeB magnet at about 7 gigapacs by silicon-vacancy chromatic optical detection magnetic resonance technology, and measured the critical temperature-pressure phase diagram of the yttrium barium copper-oxygen superconductor.

In this experiment, a high-voltage in-situ magnetic detection technology based on solid-state color center spin was developed. Compared with diamond, silicon carbide material processing technology is mature, can be grown and prepared in large size, the price is cheap, and the prepared anvil can provide a larger sample volume in the low pressure area. The integrated magnetic sensor in these silicon carbide anvils provides an excellent research platform for high-voltage superconducting magnetic detection and phase transition studies of magnetic materials. 

The work was highly praised by the reviewers: “I found this work very interesting, and by demonstrating the use of room-temperature spin defects in silicon carbide as an in-situ high-pressure sensor, I think this work could open the door to new research on quantum materials using silicon carbide against top anvils.” (Source: Wang Min, China Science News)

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