Diamond-based single-molecule magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Jianming Cai*, Fedor Jelezko, Martin B. Plenio, Alex Retzker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The detection of a nuclear spin in an individual molecule represents a key challenge in physics and biology whose solution has been pursued for many years. The small magnetic moment of a single nucleus and the unavoidable environmental noise present the key obstacles for its realization. In this paper, we demonstrate theoretically that a single nitrogen-vacancy center in diamond can be used to construct a nano-scale single-molecule spectrometer that is capable of detecting the position and spin state of a single nucleus and can determine the distance and alignment of a nuclear or electron spin pair. The proposed device would find applications in single-molecule spectroscopy in chemistry and biology, for example in determining the protein structure or in monitoring macromolecular motions, and can thus provide a tool to help unravel the microscopic mechanisms underlying bio-molecular function.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number013020
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StatePublished - Jan 2013


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