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Measuring broadband magnetic fields on the nanoscale using a hybrid quantum register

Nature Nanotechnology volume 12, pages 6772 (2017) | Download Citation

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The generation and control of fast switchable magnetic fields with large gradients on the nanoscale is of fundamental interest in material science and for a wide range of applications. However, it has not yet been possible to characterize those fields at high bandwidth with arbitrary orientations. Here, we measure the magnetic field generated by a hard-disk-drive write head with high spatial resolution and large bandwidth by coherent control of single electron and nuclear spins. We are able to derive field profiles from coherent spin Rabi oscillations close to the gigahertz range, measure magnetic field gradients on the order of 1 mT nm–1 and quantify axial and radial components of a static and dynamic magnetic field independent of its orientation. Our method paves the way for precision measurement of the magnetic fields of nanoscale write heads, which is important for future miniaturization of these devices.

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  • 08 December 2016

    In the version of this Article originally published online, there were several typographical errors. The penultimate sentence in the abstract has been amended to 'We are able to derive field profiles from coherent spin Rabi oscillations close to the gigahertz range, measure magnetic field gradients on the order of 1 mT nm–1 and quantify axial and radial components of a static and dynamic magnetic field independent of its orientation.' The second sentence in the Conclusions has been corrected to 'The measured field gradients of the order of mT nm–1 will be of use in quantum spintronic devices to locally drive electron spins in an array of interacting spins with distance on the order of few tens of nanometres, for instance4.' Finally the page range in reference 8 has been changed to '648-651'. These corrections have been made in all versions of the Article.


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We acknowledge nancial support from the German Science Foundation (SFB-TR 21, SPP1601 and FOR1493), the EU (SIQS), the DIADEMS consortium and the MPG. Furthermore, we thank I. Gerhardt, A. Finkler and H. Fedder for their support and J. Heidmann of Integral Solutions International for providing hard-disk write-head samples and technical assistance.

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  1. 3. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Stuttgart and Institute for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology IQST, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

    • Ingmar Jakobi
    • , Philipp Neumann
    • , Ya Wang
    • , Durga Bhaktavatsala Rao Dasari
    •  & Jörg Wrachtrup
  2. Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Heisenbergstraße 1, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

    • Durga Bhaktavatsala Rao Dasari
    •  & Jörg Wrachtrup
  3. Seagate Technology, 1 Disc Drive, Springtown Industrial Estate, Londonderry BT48 0BF, UK

    • Fadi El Hallak
    •  & Muhammad Asif Bashir
  4. Element Six, Fermi Avenue, Harwell Oxford, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 0QR, UK

    • Matthew Markham
    • , Andrew Edmonds
    •  & Daniel Twitchen


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I.J., P.N., F.E.H., and J.W. conceived the experiments. I.J. performed the experiments. I.J. and Y.W. analyzed the data. I.J., P.N., Y.W. and D.B.R.D. provided analytical tools and theoretical framework. F.E.H. and M.A.B. contributed simulations on hard disk heads and hard disk head samples. M.M., A.E. and D.T. provided {100} and {111} diamond membrane samples. I.J. and J.W. co-wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ingmar Jakobi.

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