Diamond nanocrystals containing highly photoluminescent color centers are attractive, nonclassical, and near-field light sources. For near-field applications, the size of the nanocrystal is crucial, since it defines the optical resolution. Nitrogen-vacancy (NV) color centers are efficiently created by proton irradiation and annealing of a nanodiamond powder. Using near-field microscopy and photon statistics measurements, we show that nanodiamonds with sizes down to can hold a single NV color center with bright and stable photoluminescence.
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