In my project, Fabricating Devices for Quantum Control Experiments in 2D Materials, we sought to make devices out of hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN), a two-dimensional material, in order to conduct quantum control experiments. I worked to create a procedure to exfoliate large (a minimum of eight micrometers across) and thin (less than one hundred nanometers) hBN flakes from a bulk crystal onto silicon chips. Furthermore, I attempted to image and categorize these flakes based on properties such as location, color, and thickness. Finally, I have begun working on a procedure to give us the capability to deterministically transfer these flakes, allowing their locations to be chosen.
Once ideal flakes were identified, the silicon chips containing the flakes were annealed at high temperatures in order to activate defects in the hBN flakes that we can study for their quantum properties (i.e. photons, spin, and charge). Over the course of the summer, Photoluminescence (PL) scans were conducted on these flakes in order to identify a type of defect known as a Single Photon Emitter (SPE). We continue to run these scans to find stable emitters that we can transfer onto special substrates that will allow us to run microwave tests on these defects.
During this experience, I was able to learn a lot and complement my studies during the school year. First, I got a hands-on experience in the world of research, where I was able to actively make research decisions and recommendations and not simply only do as told. I learned how the scientific process truly applies to research, albeit in a more complex form. Furthermore, I gained valuable scientific communication and note-taking skills as I had to be able to communicate my results in verbal and written form. This experience has sparked an interest in quantum sciences and has led me to sign up for a quantum materials course next semester, possibly opening up a whole new academic track for me.