Sub-optical resolution of single spins using magnetic resonance imaging at room temperature in diamond

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Chang Shin, Changdong Kim, Roman Kolesov, Gopalakrishnan Balasubramanian, Fedor Jelezko, Jörg Wrachtrup, Philip R. Hemmer


Journal of Luminescence 130- 1635-1645 (9)

There has been much recent interest in extending the technique of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) down to the level of single spins with sub-optical wavelength resolution. However, the signal to noise ratio for images of individual spins is usually low and this necessitates long acquisition times and low temperatures to achieve high resolution. An exception to this is the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) color center in diamond whose spin state can be detected optically at room temperature. Here we apply MRI to magnetically equivalent NV spins in order to resolve them with resolution well below the optical wavelength of the readout light. In addition, using a microwave version of MRI we achieved a resolution that is 1/270 size of the coplanar striplines, which define the effective wavelength of the microwaves that were used to excite the transition. This technique can eventually be extended to imaging of large numbers of NVs in a confocal spot and possibly to image nearby dark spins via their mutual magnetic interaction with the NV spin.