Quantum Science Seminar #23 - Martin Plenio

"Colour centers in diamond: From quantum simulation to nanoscale NMR"

October 29, 2020

Perfect diamond is transparent for visible light but there are famous diamonds, such as the famous Oppenheim Blue or the Pink Panther worth ten's of millions of dollar, which have intense colour. An important source of colour in diamond are lattice defects which emit and absorb light at optical frequencies and may indeed possess a non-vanishing ground state electronic spin. Unlike atomic physics systems, which are operated under extreme conditions to ensure isolation from their environment, colour centers in diamond are by their very nature in direct contact with the environment that is constituted by uncontrolled phonon, spin and charge degrees of freedom that form part of the host material. As a result they suffer from environmental noise. In order to address this challenge a combination of material science to improve the hardware properties and of quantum control methods to further decouple the solid state qubits from their environment while maintaining desired interactions that are needed to achieve the ultimate goal of practically usable coherent quantum dynamics. In this lecture I will explore the physics of one of these defects, the nitrogen vacancy center, and show how we can manipulate its electronic spin to develop quantum simulators, nanoscale quantum sensors and sources of nuclear hyperpolarisation. Applications of such devices range from sensing in biology to medical imaging.


1. J. M. Cai, A. Retzker, F. Jelezko, and M. B. Plenio: A large-scale quantum simulator on a diamond surface at room temperature, Nature Physics 9, 168 (2013)

2. S. Schmitt, T. Gefen, F.M. Stürmer, T. Unden, G. Wolff, Ch. Müller, J. Scheuer, B. Naydenov, M. Markham, S. Pezzagna, J. Meijer, I. Schwarz, M. B. Plenio, A. Retzker, L.P. McGuinness, and F. Jelezko: Sub-millihertz magnetic spectroscopy performed with a nanoscale quantum sensor, Science, 356, 832 (2017)

3. I. Schwartz, J. Scheuer, B. Tratzmiller, S. Müller, Q. Chen, I. Dhand, Z.-Y. Wang, Ch. Müller, B. Naydenov, F. Jelezko, and M.B. Plenio: Robust optical polarization of nuclear spin baths using Hamiltonian engineering of nitrogen-vacancy center quantum dynamics, Science Advances, 4, eaat8978 (2018)

4. I. Schwartz, J. Rosskopf, S. Schmitt, B. Tratzmiller, Q. Chen, L.P. McGuinness, F. Jelezko, and M. B. Plenio: Blueprint for Nanoscale NMR, Scientific Reports, 9, 6938 (2019)

Access the live talk at 5 p.m. CEST or the recording afterwards via this link:

Quantum Science Seminar #23 - Martin Plenio

Here you can find the recording of the last lecture, Eugene Polzik on "Quantum mechanics in the negative mass reference frame"

Quantum Science Seminar #22 - Eugene Polzik

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