Defects can provide highly homogeneous potentials for quantum particles (electrons and holes) in crystals, enabling atomic-like physics in a solid-state environment. The availability of high-purity crystals, in which either single defects can be resolved or ensembles of non-interacting identical defects can exist, has spurred significant interest in utilizing defects for quantum-enabled applications (e.g. information processing and sensing). In this talk I will first present the potential of combining solid-state defects and integrated photonics to realize quantum information processors, focusing on my own group’s research on the nitrogen-vacancy defect in diamond. In the second half, I present our work researching the fundamental properties of effective mass carriers and excitons bound to defects (0D, 1D, and 2D) in direct bandgap materials which may be promising alternatives to diamond-based platforms.