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Rep Prog Phys. 2014 May;77(5):056503. doi: 10.1088/0034-4885/77/5/056503. Epub 2014 May 6.

Magnetometry with nitrogen-vacancy defects in diamond.

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Laboratoire de Photonique Quantique et Moléculaire, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan and CNRS UMR 8537, 94235 Cachan Cedex, France.


The isolated electronic spin system of the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centre in diamond offers unique possibilities to be employed as a nanoscale sensor for detection and imaging of weak magnetic fields. Magnetic imaging with nanometric resolution and field detection capabilities in the nanotesla range are enabled by the atomic-size and exceptionally long spin-coherence times of this naturally occurring defect. The exciting perspectives that ensue from these characteristics have triggered vivid experimental activities in the emerging field of 'NV magnetometry'. It is the purpose of this article to review the recent progress in high-sensitivity nanoscale NV magnetometry, generate an overview of the most pertinent results of the last years and highlight perspectives for future developments. We will present the physical principles that allow for magnetic field detection with NV centres and discuss first applications of NV magnetometers that have been demonstrated in the context of nano magnetism, mesoscopic physics and the life sciences.

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