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      The nitrogen-vacancy colour centre in diamond

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          Abstract

          The nitrogen-vacancy (NV) colour centre in diamond is an important physical system for emergent quantum technologies, including quantum metrology, information processing and communications, as well as for various nanotechnologies, such as biological and sub-diffraction limit imaging, and for tests of entanglement in quantum mechanics. Given this array of existing and potential applications and the almost 50 years of NV research, one would expect that the physics of the centre is well understood, however, the study of the NV centre has proved challenging, with many early assertions now believed false and many remaining issues yet to be resolved. This review represents the first time that the key empirical and ab initio results have been extracted from the extensive NV literature and assembled into one consistent picture of the current understanding of the centre. As a result, the key unresolved issues concerning the NV centre are identified and the possible avenues for their resolution are examined.

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          Exchange and correlation in atoms, molecules, and solids by the spin-density-functional formalism

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            Nanoscale magnetic sensing with an individual electronic spin in diamond.

            Detection of weak magnetic fields with nanoscale spatial resolution is an outstanding problem in the biological and physical sciences. For example, at a distance of 10 nm, the spin of a single electron produces a magnetic field of about 1 muT, and the corresponding field from a single proton is a few nanoteslas. A sensor able to detect such magnetic fields with nanometre spatial resolution would enable powerful applications, ranging from the detection of magnetic resonance signals from individual electron or nuclear spins in complex biological molecules to readout of classical or quantum bits of information encoded in an electron or nuclear spin memory. Here we experimentally demonstrate an approach to such nanoscale magnetic sensing, using coherent manipulation of an individual electronic spin qubit associated with a nitrogen-vacancy impurity in diamond at room temperature. Using an ultra-pure diamond sample, we achieve detection of 3 nT magnetic fields at kilohertz frequencies after 100 s of averaging. In addition, we demonstrate a sensitivity of 0.5 muT Hz(-1/2) for a diamond nanocrystal with a diameter of 30 nm.
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              Nanoscale imaging magnetometry with diamond spins under ambient conditions.

              Magnetic resonance imaging and optical microscopy are key technologies in the life sciences. For microbiological studies, especially of the inner workings of single cells, optical microscopy is normally used because it easily achieves resolution close to the optical wavelength. But in conventional microscopy, diffraction limits the resolution to about half the wavelength. Recently, it was shown that this limit can be partly overcome by nonlinear imaging techniques, but there is still a barrier to reaching the molecular scale. In contrast, in magnetic resonance imaging the spatial resolution is not determined by diffraction; rather, it is limited by magnetic field sensitivity, and so can in principle go well below the optical wavelength. The sensitivity of magnetic resonance imaging has recently been improved enough to image single cells, and magnetic resonance force microscopy has succeeded in detecting single electrons and small nuclear spin ensembles. However, this technique currently requires cryogenic temperatures, which limit most potential biological applications. Alternatively, single-electron spin states can be detected optically, even at room temperature in some systems. Here we show how magneto-optical spin detection can be used to determine the location of a spin associated with a single nitrogen-vacancy centre in diamond with nanometre resolution under ambient conditions. By placing these nitrogen-vacancy spins in functionalized diamond nanocrystals, biologically specific magnetofluorescent spin markers can be produced. Significantly, we show that this nanometre-scale resolution can be achieved without any probes located closer than typical cell dimensions. Furthermore, we demonstrate the use of a single diamond spin as a scanning probe magnetometer to map nanoscale magnetic field variations. The potential impact of single-spin imaging at room temperature is far-reaching. It could lead to the capability to probe biologically relevant spins in living cells.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                13 February 2013
                1302.3288 10.1016/j.physrep.2013.02.001

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                Physics Reports 528, 1 (2013)
                Review article, 101 pages, 31 figures, and 18 tables
                cond-mat.mtrl-sci

                Condensed matter

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