Interstitial Nitrogen in Diamond – Optical and EPR Studies

Solveig Felton, S. Liggins, B. L. Cann, M. E. Newton, P. M. Martineau, D. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Nitrogen is one of the most common impurities in diamond. On a substitutional site it acts as a deep donor, approximately 1.7 eV below the conduction band. Irradiation of nitrogen containing diamond and subsequent annealing creates the nitrogen vacancy centre, which has recently attracted much attention for quantum information processing application. Another possible product of irradiation and annealing of nitrogen containing diamond is interstitial nitrogen. Presumably, a mobile carbon interstitial migrates to a substitutional nitrogen to produce an interstitial nitrogen complex which may or may not be mobile. The configuration(s) of interstitial nitrogen related defects (e.g. bond centred, [001]-split) are not known. An infra-red (IR) absorption peak at 1450 cm-1 labelled H1a has been associated with an nitrogen interstitial complex. [1] Theoretical modelling suggested that this IR local mode is due to a bond centred nitrogen interstitial [2]. However, more recent modelling [3] suggests that this defect is mobile at temperatures were H1a is stable and instead assign H1a to two nitrogen atoms occupying a single lattice site in a [001]-split configuration. To date no electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectra have been conclusively associated with an interstitial nitrogen defect.

In this study we present data from new EPR and optical absorption studies in combination with uniaxial stress of nitrogen interstitial related defects in electron irradiated and annealed nitrogen doped diamond. These measurements yield symmetry information about the defects allowing us to determine which of the proposed models are possible. EPR spectra of nitrogen interstitial related defects in samples isotopically enriched with 15N are reported and we show that these explain the lack of previous EPR data for these defects. Correlations between the IR absorbance and the integrated intensity of the new EPR defects are studied for varying irradiation doses and annealing temperatures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event19th European Conference on Diamond, Diamond-Like Materials, Carbon Nanotubes and Nitrides - Sitges, Spain
Duration: 07 Sept 200811 Sept 2008


Conference19th European Conference on Diamond, Diamond-Like Materials, Carbon Nanotubes and Nitrides


  • Diamond properties and applications
  • defects
  • EPR
  • nitrogen interstitial


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