Rare-earth ions (REIs) have incomplete 4f shells and possess narrow optical intra-4f transitions due to shielding from electrons in the 5s and 5p orbitals, making them good candidates for solid-state optical quantum memory. The emission of Er3+ in the telecom C-band (1530 nm-1565 nm) makes it especially attractive for this application. In order to build practical, scalable devices, the REI needs to be embedded in a non-interacting host material, preferably one that can be integrated with silicon. In this paper, we show that Er3+ can be isovalently incorporated into epitaxial Y2O3 thin films on Si (111). We report on the synthesis of epitaxial, single-crystalline Er:Y2O3 on Si with a narrow inhomogeneous linewidth in the photoluminescence (PL) spectra, 5.1 GHz (<100 mK), and an optical excited state lifetime of 8.1 ms. The choice of Y2O3 was driven by its low nuclear spin and small lattice mismatch with Si. Using PL and electron paramagnetic resonance, we show that Er3+ substitutes for Y in the crystal lattice. The role of interfacial SiOx, diffusion of silicon into the film, and the effect of buffer layers on the inhomogeneous PL linewidth are examined. We also find that the linewidth decreased monotonically with film thickness but surprisingly exhibits no correlation with the film crystalline quality, as measured by the x-ray rocking curve scans, suggesting other factors at play that limit the inhomogeneous broadening in Y2O3 films.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)