Berkeley Lab researchers and their colleagues extend electron spin in diamond for incredibly tiny magnetic detectors
From brain to heart to stomach, the bodies of humans and animals generate weak magnetic fields that a supersensitive detector could use to pinpoint illnesses, trace drugs – and maybe even read minds. Sensors no bigger than a thumbnail could map gas deposits underground, analyze chemicals, and pinpoint explosives that hide from other probes.
Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley, working with colleagues from Harvard University, have improved the performance of one of the most potent possible sensors of magnetic fields on the nanoscale – a diamond defect no bigger than a pair of atoms, called a nitrogen vacancy (NV) center. (more…)