Interactions between point defects in crystals are known to be complex, involving a combination of long range attractive and repulsive forces caused by strain fields and electrostatic effects, and shorter range forces due to local bond relaxation. These interactions determine rates of defect formation, aggregation and dissociation, important in a range of materials engineering contexts. Current understanding is largely based upon observed aggregate behaviour of large numbers of defects however, obscuring details of the physics that is needed for a clear understanding to be obtained.
This project will study the interactions between point defects in diamond under laser annealing at the single defect level. It will build on our work on the laser writing of nitrogen-vacancy colour centres, which reveal evidence of unexpected dynamics as diamond is annealed and single colour centres are formed.