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Amplified Sensitivity of Nitrogen-Vacancy Spins in Nanodiamonds Using All-Optical Charge Readout

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-04-13, 00:00 authored by David A. Hopper, Richard R. Grote, Samuel M. Parks, Lee C. Bassett
Nanodiamonds containing nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers offer a versatile platform for sensing applications spanning from nanomagnetism to in vivo monitoring of cellular processes. In many cases, however, weak optical signals and poor contrast demand long acquisition times that prevent the measurement of environmental dynamics. Here, we demonstrate the ability to perform fast, high-contrast optical measurements of charge distributions in ensembles of NV centers in nanodiamonds and use the technique to improve the spin-readout signal-to-noise ratio through spin-to-charge conversion. A study of 38 nanodiamonds with sizes ranging between 20 and 70 nm, each hosting a small ensemble of NV centers, uncovers complex, multiple time scale dynamics due to radiative and nonradiative ionization and recombination processes. Nonetheless, the NV-containing nanodiamonds universally exhibit charge-dependent photoluminescence contrasts and the potential for enhanced spin readout using spin-to-charge conversion. We use the technique to speed up a T1 relaxometry measurement by a factor of 5.