Dynamic quantum sensing of paramagnetic species using nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond

21 Aug 2019  ·  Radu Valentin, Price Joshua Colm, Levett Simon James, Narayanasamy Kaarjel K., Bateman-Price Thomas David, Wilson Philippe Barrie, Mather Melissa Louise ·

Naturally occurring paramagnetic species (PS), such as free radicals and paramagnetic metalloproteins, play an essential role in a multitude of critical physiological processes including metabolism, cell signaling and immune response. These highly dynamic species can also act as intrinsic biomarkers for a variety of disease states whilst synthetic para-magnetic probes targeted to specific sites on biomolecules enable the study of functional information such as tissue oxygenation and redox status in living systems... The work presented herein describes a new sensing method that exploits the spin dependent emission of photoluminescence (PL) from an ensemble of nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond for rapid, non-destructive detection of PS in living systems. Uniquely this approach involves simple measurement protocols that assess PL contrast with and without the application of microwaves. The method is demonstrated to detect concentrations of paramagnetic salts in solution and the widely used magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent Gadobutrol with a limit of detection of less than 10 attomol over a 100 micron x 100 micron field of view. Real time monitoring of changes in the concentration of paramagnetic salts is demonstrated with image exposure times of 20 ms. Further, dynamic tracking of chemical reactions is demonstrated via the conversion of low spin cyanide coordinated Fe3+ to hexaaqua Fe3+ under acidic conditions. Finally, the capability to map paramagnetic species in model cells with sub-cellular resolution is demonstrated using lipid membranes containing gadolinium labelled phospholipids under ambient conditions in the order of minutes. Overall, this work introduces a new sensing approach for the realization of fast, sensitive imaging of PS in a widefield format that is readily deployable in biomedical settings. read more

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Applied Physics