Room-temperature optically detected magnetic resonance of single defects in hexagonal boron nitride

Date: 27th February 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Location: Online, AEDT
Online | TMOS Colloquium


Optically addressable solid-state spins are important platforms for quantum technologies, such as repeaters and sensors. Spins in two-dimensional materials offer an advantage, as the reduced dimensionality enables feasible on-chip integration into devices. Here, we report room-temperature optically detected magnetic resonance (ODMR) from single carbon-related defects in hexagonal boron nitride with up to 100 times stronger contrast than the ensemble average. We identify two distinct bunching timescales in the second-order intensity-correlation measurements for ODMR-active defects, but only one for those without an ODMR response. We also observe either positive or negative ODMR signal for each defect. Based on kinematic models, we relate this bipolarity to highly tuneable internal optical rates. Finally, we resolve an ODMR fine structure in the form of an angle-dependent doublet resonance, indicative of weak but finite zero-field splitting. Our results offer a promising route towards realising a room-temperature spin-photon quantum interface in hexagonal boron nitride.


Hannah Stern is a Royal Society University Research Fellow, leading a research team based at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Hannah’s team’s research is motivated by the fact that new materials have always been the bearer of new technologies. They study how materials interact with light and how to harness this behaviour to build future technologies with application in quantum communication, energy efficiency, and sensing.

Hannah is excited and optimistic about the role new photonic technologies can play in solving some of the key environmental and technological issues facing our planet. Her PhD work involved the development of solar panels made from organic semiconductors. As a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, Hannah branched out to use atomically-thin materials for biomarker detection in medical science. Her most recent interest is the development of new atomically-thin quantum light emitters for quantum communication networks.

Hannah also has a keen interest to communicate her science to a general audience, and to link fundamental research to commercial developments. For further details see the Media and Entrepreneurship link on her website (

Hannah completed a PhD at Cambridge University under the supervision of Sir Professor Richard Friend. She has a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) in Chemistry from Otago University, New Zealand.