Ultrasensitive Magnetometry and Imaging with NV Diamond
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NV centers in a diamond are proving themselves to be good building blocks for quantum information, electron spin resonance (ESR) imaging, and sensor applications. The key feature of the NV is that it has an electron spin that can be polarized and read out at room temperature. The readout is optical, thus the magnetic field imaging can also be done easily. Magnetic field variation with feature sizes below 0.3 microns cannot be directly resolved, and so in this region magnetic resonance imaging must be employed. To realize the full sensitivity of NV diamond, the spin transition linewidth must be as narrow as possible. Additionally, in the case of NV ensembles for micron-sized magnetometers, there must be a high concentration of NV. To this end three techniques are explored: (1) Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) imaging with microwave field gradients, (2) Magic angle rotation of magnetic field, and (3) TEM irradiation to optimize the yield of NV in a diamond. For the EPR imaging demonstration a resonant microwave field gradient is used in place of the usual DC magnetic gradient to obtain enough spatial resolution to resolve two very close "double NV" centers in a type Ib bulk diamond. Microfabrication technology enabled the micron-size wire structure to sit directly on the surface of millimeter-scale diamond plate. In contrast to conventional magnetic resonance imaging pulsed ESR was used to measure the Rabi oscillations. From the beating of Rabi oscillations from a "double NV," the pair was resolved using the one-dimension EPR imaging (EPRI) and the spatial distance was obtained. To achieve high sensitivity in nitrogen-doped diamond, the dipole-dipole coupling between the electron spin of the NV center and the substitutional nitrogen (14N) electron must be suppressed because it causes linewidth broadening. Magic angle spinning is an accepted technique to push T2 and T2 * down toward the T1 limit. An experiment was performed using the HPHT diamond with a high concentration of nitrogen, and a rotating field was applied with a microfabricated wire structure to reduce line broadening. In this experiment, ~50% suppression of the linewidth was observed and the effective time constant T2* improved from 114 ns to 227 ns. To achieve the highest possible sensitivity for micro-scale magnetic sensors the concentration of NV should be large. Since the unconverted N are magnetic impurities they shorten T2 and T2*, giving a tradeoff between NV (and therefore N) concentration and sensitivity. To construct a damage monitor, a type Ib HPHT sample was irradiated with electrons from a transmission electron microscope (TEM) and the effects on the ESR transition were seen well before physical damage appeared on the diamond and thus this proved to be a sensitive metric for irradiation damage.
Experimental Quantum Optics
Electron Spin Resonance
Kim, Changdong (2010). Ultrasensitive Magnetometry and Imaging with NV Diamond. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from