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 From the cosmos to fusion plasmas, PPPL presents findings at global APS gathering
13.11.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht A two-atom quantum duet
12.11.2018 | Institute for Basic Science

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New findings help to better calculate the oceans’ contribution to climate regulation

15.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Automated adhesive film placement and stringer integration for aircraft manufacture

15.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>