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Pushing the frontiers of nanoscale spin detection

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Detection of the faint magnetic signal from electron or nuclear spins in small samples is an outstanding problem across the physical and biological sciences. In quantum physics, scientists hope to measure the orientation of single spins on their way to implement complex quantum information algorithms, while in structural biology, one could envision to directly image the three-dimensional arrangement of complex macromolecules with atomic resolution.

In this talk I will discuss our lab’s efforts towards these goals based on two different ultrasensitive scanning probe microscopy techniques. In a first part, I will describe the basics of “Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy” (MRFM), a cantilever-based method that has recently enabled detection of a single electron and ensembles ~100 nuclear spins. In a second part of the talk I will introduce the concept of “scanning NV magnetometry” using single nitrogen-vacancy defects in diamond, and present our lab’s first steps towards an experimental implementation of this new idea

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