Diamond Materials

Diamond Materials for Quantum Application

23. September 2014: The DFG research group FOR 1493 “Diamond Materials and Quantum Applications” goes into its second funding period. FOR1493 is a national research consortium funded by the Deutsche Forsch-ungsgemeinschaft.

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ERC Advanced Grant


Sensor-unlimited nanoscale spectroscopy of small spin clusters

Atomic-sized, classical memories store NMR-sensor data intermediately yielding single-spin NMR spectra with 13 Hz resolution at room temperature. Single spins in solids are nowadays utilized as tiniest quantum sensors for magnetic and electric fields, temperature and single molecule recognition under ambient conditions. Every sensor, also a single spin sensor, does perturb the quantum state of the object under study. This perturbation, or more commonly called back action, has decisive influence on the acquired signal. For sensitive detection of molecular magnetic moments, it for example reduces spectral resolution. Here, we study and overcome the deleterious effects of this backaction and reveal the identity of samples with an unprecedented accuracy.

The key components of our sensing device are a single electron spin quantum sensor and a non-volatile nuclear spin quantum memory. We avoid back action and retain sensor performance by temporarily storing classical information about samples on the memory and by dynamically decoupling the sensor from both memory and sample. With our novel device design and observation methods, we identify sample spins with spectral discrimination down to 13 Hz.

Our results improve the characterization of small spin clusters. For example, we pave the way for chemical structure analysis on nanoscopic volumes via nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques, which are typically applied to millimeter scale samples.

Nonvolatile nuclear spin memory enables sensor-unlimited nanoscale spectroscopy of small spin clusters, M. Pfender, N. Aslam, H. Sumiya, S. Onoda, P. Neumann, J. Isoya, C. A. Meriles & J. Wrachtrup, Nature Communications 8, 834 (2017).