Quantum Science and Technology in Diamond


Diamond has recently emerged as a unique material for quantum information processing. In particular, Nitrogen-Vacancy centers (NV centers) in diamond exhibit quantum behaviour up to room temperature. We exploit the remarkable properties of NV centers to study, engineer and exploit interactions between individual quantum systems.

Team Diamond

  • Toeno van der Sar (PhD student)
  • Gijs de Lange (PhD student)
  • Wolfgang Pfaff (PhD student)
  • Hannes Bernien (PhD student)
  • Machiel Blok (MSc student)
  • Bas Hensen (MSc student)
  • Arthur Vos (MSc student)
  • Lucio Robledo (postdoc)
  • Tim Taminiau (postdoc)
  • Lily Childress (visiting scientist)
  • Ronald Hanson (PI)


For a list of the publications by Team Diamond click here.

Research themes

Quantum optics with nanopositioned single emitters
The coupling of a single quantum object to degrees of freedom in its environment is a central theme in quantum optical science and engineering. Studying and engineering such couplings is not only of fundamental interest, but may also lead to dramatic improvements in fluorescence detection efficiency, ultrasensitive magnetometry, and applications in quantum information processing. Controlled and precise positioning of the quantum object under study is essential for many of these experiments. We have developed a technique that allows high-accuracy positioning of individual diamond nanocrystals with a single NV center. The positioning is done with a home-built nanomanipulator under real-time scanning electron imaging, yielding an accuracy of a few nanometers.
Collaboration with Tjerk Oosterkamp (Leiden University) and Dirk Bouwmeester (Leiden University/UCSB)

To learn more:
T. van der Sar et al., Appl.Phys. Lett. 94, 173104 (2009).
Movie showing in real-time how a nanodiamond is picked up with the nanomanipulator.
Movie showing in real-time how a nanodiamond is positioned into a hole of a photonic crystal.
Press release by FOM (in Dutch).
Article in Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Natuurkunde (november 2009) (in Dutch).
T. van der Sar et al.,arXiv:1008.4097 (2010) (submitted).


Towards on-chip detection of light emission
By placing an NV center in the near field of a plasmon waveguide, the NV center emission will be predominantly into propagating plasmon modes. By guiding these plasmons to superconducting single-plasmon detectors (developed in our section by Val Zwiller), we aim to achieve efficient on-chip photoluminescence detection and to demonstrate an on-demand single-plasmon source. The anticipated high detection efficiency may also allow single-shot readout of the NV center spin state. This work is a stepping stone towards "dark optics", where all optical components are integrated in a chip.
Collaboration with Val Zwiller and Leo Kouwenhoven (our section)


Quantum control and decoherence of single quantum systems
This research aims at controlling the quantum states of single and coupled spins in diamond, and to explore the loss of phase coherence. NV centers are excellent test beds for these studies, as spin coherence times are long and quantum states can be created with high fidelity. Moreover, the spin environment of NV centers can be tuned in situ, allowing strategies to maintain coherence to be tested in different environments. This work is motivated by a fundamental interest into the process of decoherence as well as by potential applications of NV centers in quantum information processing.
Collaboration with Slava Dobrovitski (Ames Lab) and David Awschalom (UCSB)

To learn more:
V.V. Dobrovitski, G. de Lange, D. Ristè, R. Hanson, Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 077601 (2010).
G. de Lange, Z. H. Wang, D. Ristè, V. V. Dobrovitski, R. Hanson, Science 330, 60 (2010).
G. de Lange, D. Ristè, V.V. Dobrovitski, R. Hanson, Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 080802 (2011).


Quantum information processing with diamond
Spins in diamond are promising candidates for implementing quantum bits (qubits), the basic building blocks of a quantum information processor. We investigate this direction by extending our control over spin and photonic degrees of freedom of single NV centers in diamond. In this research we combine techniques from magnetic resonance, quantum optics and quantum control. We aim for proof-of-principle demonstrations of the basic elements for quantum information processing.

To learn more:
L. Robledo, H. Bernien, I. van Weperen, R. Hanson, Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 177403 (2010).




For a general overview of this field of research, please refer to these recent articles:



This research is supported by the Dutch Organization for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) through a Vidi grant (680-47-224), the DARPA QuEST program, and the EU programme SOLID.



For questions, inquiries and applications please contact Ronald Hanson.


Name author: Ronald Hanson
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