Cryogenic thermal shock effects on optical properties of quantum emitters in hexagonal boron nitride

Thi Ngoc Anh Mai, Sajid Ali, Md Shakhawath Hossain, Chaohao Chen, Lei Ding, Yongliang Chen, Alexander S. Solntsev, Hongwei Mou, Xiaoxue Xu, Nikhil Medhekar, Toan Trong Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Solid-state quantum emitters are vital building blocks for quantum information science and quantum technology. Among various types of solid-state emitters discovered to date, color centers in hexagonal boron nitride have garnered tremendous traction in recent years, thanks to their environmental robustness, high brightness, and room-temperature operation. Most recently, these quantum emitters have been employed for satellite-based quantum key distribution. One of the most important requirements to qualify these emitters for space-based applications is their optical stability against cryogenic thermal shock. Such an understanding has, however, remained elusive to date. Here, we report on the effects caused by such thermal shock that induces random, irreversible changes in the spectral characteristics of the quantum emitters. By employing a combination of structural characterizations and density functional calculations, we attribute the observed changes to lattice strain caused by cryogenic temperature shock. Our study sheds light on the stability of the quantum emitters under extreme conditions─similar to those countered in outer space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19340–19349
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2024


  • cryogenic thermal shock
  • hexagonal boron nitride
  • quantum emitters
  • shock cooling
  • spectral shift

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