Development of measurement protocols for quantum magnetometry

Alexander Stark

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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The work presented in this thesis revolves around quantum enhanced magnetic field sensing. The core of the study is the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center, a point defect in the diamond lattice with atomic like properties and magnetic field susceptibility. The central task was to develop control schemes and protocols to enhance the lifetime and the coherences of the NV center with the overall goal of enhancing the capabilities of this sensor in the field of magnetometry.
In order to realize complex protocols, a sophisticated software control of the measurement setup is required. A general software framework, termed Qudi, was designed and developed from scratch to improve drastically the measurement abilities and to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between the measurement protocols and the underlying physical idea. The transparent character of the core code, fully open to the scientific community, is serving as rigorous framework to reduce the complexity of the setup configuration by a fundamental separation of tasks. As a consequence, the general idea of this framework is not limited to experiments with color centers in diamond, but can find application in any laboratory environment.
The measurement of magnetic fields in the high-frequency GHz regimes is challenging. In this thesis, a continuous dynamical decoupling protocol is developed and implemented, which extends the capabilities of the NV sensor to probe GHz signals with a narrow bandwidth. Moreover, the protocol protects the system from noise, attributed to the drive, and from external magnetic noise thereby prolonging the coherence time and reaching the lifetime limitation of the quantum states. We measured a coherence time of 1.43 ms at room temperature in a diamond crystal with a natural abundance of 13C atoms, resulting in a smallest detectable magnetic field strength of 4 nT at 1.6 GHz. Creating a protected qubit from a three-level system requires multiple drive fields addressing different transition frequencies. Continuous dynamical decoupling can protect the system from external magnetic noise, but typically introduces large drive noise to the system. The combination of on-resonant and off-resonant driving fields serves an approach to circumvent the challenges associated with drive noise. While on-resonant drive maintains a large energy gap in order to protect the sensor from external magnetic noise, the off-resonant drive creates AC-Stark shifted energy levels, thereby significantly reducing the amount of drive noise on the three-level system. We experimentally demonstrate an improvement in coherence time, which is only limited by the second order contributions of the magnetic field noise while suppressing entirely the drive noise contributions. Further improvement can be achieved by a mere increase of the drive field as its noise is efficiently decoupled from the sensor.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Physics, Technical University of Denmark
Number of pages126
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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