Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Quantum Sensors for High-Precision Magnetometry of Superconductors

03.05.2016

Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Department of Physics at the University of Basel have developed a new method that has enabled them to image magnetic fields on the nanometer scale at temperatures close to absolute zero for the first time. They used spins in special diamonds as quantum sensors in a new kind of microscope to generate images of magnetic fields in superconductors with unrivalled precision. In this way the researchers were able to perform measurements that permit new insights in solid state physics, as they report in “Nature Nanotechnology”.

Researchers in the group led by the Georg-H. Endress Professor Patrick Maletinsky have been conducting research into so-called nitrogen-vacancy centers (NV centers) in diamonds for several years in order to use them as high-precision sensors.

The NV centers are natural defects in the diamond crystal lattice. The electrons contained in the NVs can be excited and manipulated with light, and react sensitively to electrical and magnetic fields they are exposed to. It is the spin of these electrons that changes depending on the environment and that can be recorded using various measurement methods.

Maletinsky and his team have managed to place single NV spins at the tips of atomic force microscopes to perform nanoscale magnetic field imaging. So far, such analyses have always been conducted at room temperature.

However, numerous fields of application require operation at temperatures close to absolute zero. Superconducting materials, for example, only develop their special properties at very low temperatures around -200°C. They then conduct electric currents without loss and can develop exotic magnetic properties with the formation of so-called vortices.

At temperatures close to absolute zero for the first time

In their paper, the scientists successfully used their new microscope under cryogenic conditions at temperatures of about 4 Kelvin (~ -269 °C) for the first time. They were able to image magnetic stray fields of vortices in a high-temperature superconductor with a hitherto unrivalled precision.

The resulting spatial resolution of 10 nanometers is one to two magnitudes better than that obtained using alternative methods. This permits for the first time an unambiguous and quantitative analysis of important material parameters, such as the magnetic penetration depths of the superconducting probe – one of the fundamental characteristics of a superconductor.

“Our findings are of relevance not only for quantum sensor technology and superconductivity,” says Patrick Maletinsky, commenting on the paper, “on the long run they will also have an influence on solid state physics and, with further improvements in sensitivity, they may even enable applications in biology.”

Orginal article
L. Thiel, D. Rohner, M. Ganzhorn, P. Appel, E. Neu, B. Müller, R. Kleiner, D. Koelle and P. Maletinsky
Quantitative nanoscale vortex imaging using a cryogenic quantum magnetometer
Nature Nanotechnology (2016), doi: 10.1038/nnano.2016.63

Further information
Prof. Patrick Maletinsky, University of Basel, Department of Physics, tel. +41 61 267 37 63, email: patrick.maletinsky@unibas.ch

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/News/Uni-Research/Quantum-Sensors-for-High-...

Reto Caluori | Universität Basel

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>