Protecting Quantum Spin Coherence of Nanodiamonds in Living Cells

Q. Y. Cao, P. C. Yang, M. S. Gong, M. Yu, A. Retzker, M. B. Plenio, C. Müller, N. Tomek, B. Naydenov, L. P. McGuinness, F. Jelezko, J. M. Cai

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22 Scopus citations


Because of its superior coherent and optical properties at room temperature, the nitrogen-vacancy (N-V) center in diamond has become a promising quantum probe for nanoscale quantum sensing. However, the application of N-V-containing nanodiamonds to quantum sensing suffers from their relatively short spin coherence times. Here we demonstrate energy-efficient protection of N-V spin coherence in nanodiamonds using concatenated continuous dynamical decoupling, which exhibits excellent performance with a less-stringent microwave-power requirement. When this is applied to nanodiamonds in living cells, we are able to extend the spin coherence time by an order of magnitude to the T1 limit of 30μs. Further analysis demonstrates concomitant improvements of sensing performance, which shows that our results provide an important step toward in vivo quantum sensing using N-V centers in nanodiamond.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number024021
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020

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© 2020 American Physical Society.


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