When Shallow Defects Align, Diamonds Shine for Unprecedented Quantum Sensitivity

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 11:52 in Physics & Chemistry

Imagine a sensor so sensitive it can detect changes in the proton concentration of a single protein, within a single cell. This level of insight would reveal elusive quantum-scale dynamics of that protein's function, potentially even in real time, but demands a sensor with controllable features at a similar scale. Thanks to a new fabrication technique, quantum sensing abilities are now approaching this scale of precision. As they report this week in Applied Physics Letters, researchers have reproducibly formed an aligned ensemble of quantum sensors called nitrogen vacancy centers, just nanometers from its substrate's surface.

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