“Nanoscale Quantum Sensing” facility

Quantum Sensing with single electron spins. Electronic spins associated to spin-active point defects such as the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) colour centre in diamond can be used to probe stray magnetic fields (and other quantities such as temperature and electric fields) with nanoscale spatial resolution, providing an invaluable tool for nanoscience. This quantum technology is now becoming available outside of quantum physics labs, with several companies offering commercial systems that are being deployed to investigate novel effects in materials science and biology.
With a >£2.5M investment by EPSRC and Heriot-Watt University, our lab has set-up a “Nanoscale Quantum Sensing” facility that will enable users to access state-of-the-art spin-based quantum sensing tools.

Scanning-probe quantum sensing. The facility includes the fist commercial low-temperature scanning probe quantum sensor (Attocube LT-NVM, developed in collaboration with QZabre). This instrument consists of a cryostat with base temperature 1.8K, 5-1-1T vector magnetic field equipped with an atomic force microscope. A diamond cantilever with an NV centre on the apex of the tip is mounted on a tuning fork, enabling positioning with high spatial resolution.

Fig 1. Example of magnetometry scan for an Ir/Fe/Co/Pt multilayer, showing the stray magnetic field at 30 nm from the sample

Quantum sensing at mK temperatures. The scanning probe system is complemented by a Bluefors LD400 dilution refrigerator (base temperature 10mK, 9-1-1T vector magnet), enabling measurements into the mK regime. This systems is not equipped with scanning probe functionalities, but we are integrating a custom widefield NV-magnetometry setup.

Fig 2. Bluefors LD400 dilution refrigerator with optical access

A diverse sensing toolbox. Spin-based quantum sensing is just one of the many tools we have available to characterise 2D heterostructures and probe interesting many-body physics, e.g. PL/PLE spectroscopy, white light reflectometry, Raman, atomic force microscopy, etc. For an overview of our facilities, please see the relevant section in this website.

Accessing the facility. The facility is accessible to external users, please direct any queries to the Experimental Officer Dr Muhammad Junaid Arshad, or to the Principal Investigators, Prof Cristian Bonato and Prof Brian Gerardot.