NV center based magnetometry


Interest in nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond has renewed recently due to a fuller understanding of their unique quantum properties. The electronic state of an NV center forms a spin-1 system, on which general quantum control and information processing procedures can be performed. Due to their weak coupling with its environment, NV spin-states have exceptionally long coherence times; hence, there is great potential to make use of a system which contains the coherence properties of atoms, yet is trapt within the rigid lattice of a diamond crystal. Moreover, NV centers can be addressed optically, and due to their spin-dependent fluorescence, the electronic spin of an NV center can be both readout and initialized with a simple optical setup. Full quantum coherent control is achievable through the application of radio-frequency pulses on the optically initialized state. In our group, our aim to apply these unique properties towards the development of novel instrumentation.

In particular, we have developed an extremely sensitive magnetometer which has the capability to measure the dipole fields of single electron spins at room temperature. This NV magnetometer is implemented in a unique scanning probe microscope which allows for the the spatial examination of minute magnetic fields in a wide variety of systems.

For instance, investigating the spin dynamics of ferromagnetic layered materials have far reaching consequences for the scientific community, such as advances in spintronics as well as improving the understanding of the microscopic origins of magnetism.  2D atomic crystals of transition metal chalcogenides, could realize the first 2D atomic ferromagnets.  In addition, these magnetic materials may exhibit exotic magnetic properties in reduced dimensions, such as a transition from ferromagnetic to antiferromagnetic order when the number of layers is reduced to the monolayer.

Conventional probes of spin dynamics, such as FMR lacks sufficient sensitivity to probe a single atomic layer. A sensitive probe of magnetic properties is needed. Magnetic resonance studies based on Nitrogen Vacancy centers in diamond may provide a sufficiently sensitive probe of the magnetic properties of monolayer 2D atomic crystals with magnetic order – paving the way for studies of magnetism in the truly 2D atomic limit.

Check out some of our research below!

Schematic of the NV-MRI technique depicting an NV centre in diamond situated in a confocal laser spot with nearby dark spins.