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Optimized quantum sensing with a single electron spin using real-time adaptive measurements

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      Quantum sensors based on single solid-state spins promise a unique combination of sensitivity and spatial resolution. The key challenge in sensing is to achieve minimum estimation uncertainty within a given time and with a high dynamic range. Adaptive strategies have been proposed to achieve optimal performance but their implementation in solid-state systems has been hindered by the demanding experimental requirements. Here we realize adaptive d.c. sensing by combining single-shot readout of an electron spin in diamond with fast feedback. By adapting the spin readout basis in real time based on previous outcomes we demonstrate a sensitivity in Ramsey interferometry surpassing the standard measurement limit. Furthermore, we find by simulations and experiments that adaptive protocols offer a distinctive advantage over the best-known non-adaptive protocols when overhead and limited estimation time are taken into account. Using an optimized adaptive protocol we achieve a magnetic field sensitivity of \(6.1 \pm 1.7\) nT *Hz\(^{-1/2}\) over a wide range of 1.78 mT. These results open up a new class of experiments for solid-state sensors in which real-time knowledge of the measurement history is exploited to obtain optimal performance.

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      Nature Nanotechnology 11, 247-252 (2016)
      typos corrected
      quant-ph cond-mat.mes-hall
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