Diamond Microscope Unlocks Ancient Rocks' Magnetic Secrets
Publish date : 2020/04/30 Views : 17

Diamond Microscope Unlocks Ancient Rocks' Magnetic Secrets

A new tool, called the quantum diamond microscope (QDM), is enabling geologists to sense and map the magnetic fields imprinted in rock grains at scales smaller than the width of a human hair, allowing geologists to tease out history that coarser techniques overlook. Developed at Harvard University, the microscope is being used to probe meteorites for clues about the Solar System's earliest days, chronicle rainfall thousands of years ago from stalactites, and detect some of the earliest motions of Earth's tectonic plates in ancient lavas. Though it does not yet have the sensitivity of traditional superconducting sensors, the maps produced by the QDM will likely become mandatory for analyzing any claims of ancient magnetism, such as the start of Earth's own magnetic field.

Diamond microscope unlocks ancient rocks' magnetic secrets

Paul Voosen,et al. Science 24 Apr 2020: Vol. 368, Issue 6489, pp. 354-355

DOI: 10.1126/science.368.6489.354

Paleomagnetic evidence for modern-like plate motion velocities at 3.2 Ga

Alec R. Brenner,et al.  Science Advances 22 Apr 2020:Vol. 6, no. 17, eaaz8670

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz8670

Microwave-Free Vector Magnetometry with Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers along a Single Axis in Diamond


Sensing vector magnetic fields is critical to many applications in fundamental physics, bioimaging and material science.Magnetic field sensors exploiting nitrogen-vacancy (N-V) centers are particularly compelling as they offer high sensitivity and spatial resolution even at the nanoscale. Achieving vector magnetometry, however, often requires applying microwaves sequentially or simultaneously, limiting the sensors’applications under cryogenic temperature.Here, we propose and demonstrate a microwave-free vector magnetometer that simultaneously measures all Cartesian components of a magnetic field using N-V ensembles in diamond. In particular, the present magnetometer leverages the level anticrossing in the triplet ground state at 102.4 mT, allowing the measurement of both longitudinal and transverse fields with a wide bandwidth from zero to the megahertz range. Full vector sensing capability is proffered by modulating fields along the preferential N-V axis and in the transverse plane and subsequent demodulation of the signal. This sensor exhibits a root-mean-square noise floor that approximately equals 300 pT/√Hz in all directions. The present technique is broadly applicable to both ensemble sensors and potentially also to single-N-V sensors, extending the vector capability to nanoscale measurements under ambient temperatures.

Microwave-Free Vector Magnetometry with Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers along a Single Axis in Diamond

Huijie Zheng,et al. Phys. Rev. Applied 13, 044023 – Published 9 April 2020


Optical Control of a Single Nuclear Spin in the Solid State

We demonstrate a novel method for coherent optical manipulation of individual nuclear spins in the solid state, mediated by the electronic states of a proximal quantum emitter. Specifically, using the nitrogen vacancy (NV) color center in diamond, we demonstrate control of a proximal 14N nuclear spin via an alloptical Raman technique. We evaluate the extent to which the intrinsic physical properties of the NV center limit the performance of coherent control, and we find that it is ultimately constrained by the relative rates of transverse hyperfine coupling and radiative decay in the NV center’s excited state. Possible extensions and applications to other color centers are discussed.

Optical Control of a Single Nuclear Spin in the Solid State

M. L. Goldman, et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 153203 – Published 15 April 2020



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