Nanoscale Magnetic Imaging with a Single Nitrogen-Vacancy Center in Diamond

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Nanoscale Magnetic Imaging with a Single Nitrogen-Vacancy Center in Diamond

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Title: Nanoscale Magnetic Imaging with a Single Nitrogen-Vacancy Center in Diamond
Author: Hong, Sungkun
Citation: Hong, Sungkun. 2012. Nanoscale Magnetic Imaging with a Single Nitrogen-Vacancy Center in Diamond. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Magnetic imaging has been playing central roles not only in fundamental sciences but also in engineering and industry. Their numerous applications can be found in various areas, ranging from chemical analysis and biomedical imaging to magnetic data storage technology. An outstanding problem is to develope new magnetic imaging techniques with improved spatial resolutions down to nanoscale, while maintaining their magnetic sensitivities. For instance, if detecting individual electron or nuclear spins with nanomter spatial resolution is possible, it would allow for direct imaging of chemical structures of complex molecules, which then could bring termendous impacts on biological sciences. While realization of such nanoscale magnetic imaging still remains challenging, nitrogen-vacancy (NV) defects in diamond have recently considered as promising magnetic field sensors, as their electron spins show exceptionally long coherence even at room temperature. This thesis presents experimental progress in realizing a nanoscale magnetic imaging apparatus with a single nitrogen-vacancy (NV) color center diamond. We first fabricated diamond nanopillar devices hosting single NV centers at their ends, and incorporated them to a custom-built atomic force microscope (AFM). Our devices showed unprecedented combination of magnetic field sensitivity and spatial resolution for scanning NV systems. We then used these devices to magnetically image a single isolated electronic spin with nanometer resolution, for the first time under ambient condition. We also extended our study to improve and generalize the application of the scanning NV magnetometer we developed. We first introduced magnetic field gradients from a strongly magnetized tip, and demonstrated that the spatial resolution can be further improved by spectrally distinguishing identical spins at different locations. In addition, we developed a method to synchronize the periodic motion of an AFM tip and pulsed microwave sequences controlling an NV spin. This scheme enabled employment of 'AC magnetic field sensing scheme' in imaging samples with static and spatially varying magnetizations.
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