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(a) Confocal and (b) AFM images of the sample area corresponding to the two single NV centers for two oxidation steps (9 and 17). The 3D AFM images represent the height of the two nanodiamond hosts.
(a) Second order auto-correlation, (b) time-resolved fluorescence decay, and (c) fluorescence spectrum curves for the two single NV centers (1 and 2) corresponding to the initial (blue) and final (red) oxidation steps of the host crystal. For fluorescence decay, an intermediate (grey) oxidation step curve is also shown. The curves are fitted to the 3-level model, 24 and the fluorescence lifetime curves are fitted to a single exponential decay. 25
Total decay rate (solid blue) and the photon saturation counts (dashed red) as a function of the measured crystal heights for the two single NV centers (a) center 1 (b) center 2. For center 1, the last oxidation step emission rate represents the emission rate for the blinking state. Smooth dotted curves show the analytic decay rates for the diamond sphere NV centers emitting with different quantum efficiencies.
Blinking behavior of center 1. (a) Photon counts as a function of laser excitation power for the oxidation step when blinking was excited. (Inset) Photon saturation curve of the same center in the previous oxidation step (the red curve is a fit to the saturation model, , where P is the excitation power). Fluorescence time-trace for two different excitation powers (b) and (c) with the corresponding count-rate histograms. (d) Second order auto-correlation curves and (e) associated emission lifetimes corresponding to I (red) the low count state and II (blue), the predominantly high count blinking state. (f) Fluorescence spectrum of the center in the I (red) low-count state before the excitation of blinking, and the II state (blue) after the advent of blinking in a predominantly high count state at a low excitation power.
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