Measuring magnetic field texture in correlated electron systems under extreme conditions

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Science  13 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6471, pp. 1355-1359
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw4278

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Diamond-based sensors

Material properties can change dramatically under pressure. Typically, to achieve high-pressure conditions, researchers place their samples in diamond anvil cells (DACs). However, monitoring the properties of the sample inside a DAC is tricky (see the Perspective by Hamlin and Zhou). Hsieh et al., Lesik et al., and Yip et al. developed monitoring techniques based on nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond. The NV centers can act as sensors because their energy levels and the associated spectra are sensitive to strain and magnetic fields. This enabled optical readout of a spatially resolved signal.

Science, this issue p. 1349, p. 1359, p. 1355; see also p. 1312


Pressure is a clean, continuous, and systematic tuning parameter among the competing ground states in strongly correlated electron systems such as superconductivity and magnetism. However, owing to the restricted access to samples enclosed in high-pressure devices, compatible magnetic field sensors with sufficient sensitivity are rare. We used nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond as a spatially resolved vector field sensor for material research under pressure at cryogenic temperatures. Using a single crystal of BaFe2(As0.59P0.41)2 as a benchmark, we extracted the superconducting transition temperature, the local magnetic field profile in the Meissner state, and the critical fields. The method developed in this work offers a distinct tool for probing and understanding a range of quantum many-body systems.

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