Quantum hyperpolarisation of nuclear spins and multi-modal microscopic imaging with diamond defect spins
AuthorBroadway, David Aaron
AffiliationSchool of Physics
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 David Aaron Broadway
Quantum technologies promise to impact on several aspects of society. Examples include quantum computing to perform certain calculations significantly faster than current classical computers, quantum cryptography for more secure communications, quantum sensing to make measurements with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution, and specialised quantum devices such as quantum hyperpolarisers for enhanced medical imaging. However, the field is still in its infancy and most quantum technologies have been realised only in delicate laboratory settings with little prospect for real-world applications (e.g. quantum sensors), or are many years away from being mature enough to make an impact (quantum computing). This thesis develops two applications of quantum technologies, in the direction of quantum hyperpolarisation on the one hand and quantum sensing on the other hand, which utilise a quantum system particularly suited for practical applications, the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centre in diamond. This diamond spin defect can be operated in ambient conditions and the resulting quantum devices can be easily miniaturised for large scale deployment. Specifically, in the first part of this thesis (chapters 2 to 4), two new techniques to realise hyperpolarisation (HP) of nuclear spins are developed. Through effective HP, ensembles of nuclear spin can be polarised far beyond the normal Boltzmann level, which can be used to enhance the spin signal for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and imaging (MRI). Chapter 2 and 3 focus on exploiting direct cross-relaxation (CR) between the NV spin and the nuclear spin. Chapter 2 investigates a CR-based protocol for sensing, and determines, through a study of the NV physics, under what regimes this protocol can be applied to nuclear spin detection. This study constructs a framework under which HP via CR can be realised. Chapter 3 continues in this direction and demonstrate that CR can be used to hyperpolarise external nuclear spins. A detailed understanding of the spin bath mechanics is explored and the impact of rogue uncontrolled NV spins on this spin bath is determined. Additionally, this protocol is compared with other HP techniques and shows a remarkable improvement in polarisation rate, however, it is particularly sensitive to magnetic field detuning. To overcome this issue, in chapter 4 a different technique is developed that relies on a dynamical decoupling protocol purposefully modified to achieve HP. This new technique has a slower polarisation rate than CR-based HP but is robust to the experimental errors that exist in scaling these hyperpolarisation techniques. The second part of this thesis (chapters 5 and 6) exploits the quantum sensing properties of ensembles of NV centres in diamond to develop multi-modal microscopic imaging, which is a promising tool for device diagnosis and the study of mesoscopic phenomena. Specifically, chapter 5 develops and implements a technique for imaging the electric field simultaneously with the magnetic field. The technique is applied to the study of electric fields that are intrinsic to interfaces and junctions. The functionality of electronic devices (such as transistors) are fundamentally dictated by these fields which have traditionally been opaque to probing except at the very surface. While the surface potential is crucial, a wealth of information is contained in the bulk structure which is the focus of this study. In chapter 6 the same sensing protocol is extended to image stress embedded in the diamond rather than electric fields. A series of different deformation sources is used to test and verify that the technique can determine the entire stress tensor with high sensitivity and micrometer spatial resolution. With these new imaging capabilities, extending the traditional magnetic field sensing to electric field and stress, multi-modal NV imaging is a promising example of quantum technology that may have an immediate impact in other fields of science.
KeywordsQuantum optics; Quantum mechanics; Nitrogen vacancy; Hyperpolarisation; Magnetic field; Electric field; stress; strain; NMR; Quantum control
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