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Materials Science Research Lecture

Wednesday, May 31, 2023
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Noyes 147 (J. Holmes Sturdivant Lecture Hall)
Quantum Sensing of Quantum Materials
Chunhui Du, Assistant Professor, Physics, UC San Diego,

NOTE: Every student or postdoc (any option!) will receive a $5 SmartCash "coffee credit" for each Materials Research lecture attended in person. The credits will be tallied and issued after the last speaker of the term. ***Be sure to put your name on the sign-in sheet so you are counted.

Abstract. Exploring new class of quantum materials with advanced magnetic and electronic properties has been a central focus of modern condensed matter physics over the past decades. The success of these efforts relies simultaneously on advances in theory, material synthesis, and development of new, sensitive metrology tools capable of diagnosing the key material properties at the nanoscale. Nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers, optically active atomic spin defects in diamond, are naturally relevant in this context due to their excellent quantum coherence, unprecedented spatial and field sensitivity, and remarkable functionality over broad experimental conditions. Serving as a local probe of multiple degrees of freedom, NV centers are ideally posed to investigate the fundamental correlations between microscopic spin, charge, and thermal behaviors in condensed matter systems. In this talk, I will present our recent work on using NV centers to perform quantum sensing of emergent quantum materials. Specifically, we have utilized NV centers to visualize the exotic spin properties of topological magnetic materials [1, 2] and antiferromagnetic insulators [3], revealing the fundamental spin transport and dynamic physics at the nanoscale. Taking advantage of coherent coupling between NV centers and nanomagnetic devices [4, 5], we achieved electric field induced coherent control of NV centers, promoting the role of NV centers at the forefront research of quantum science and technologies. Lastly, I will briefly discuss our ongoing efforts on exploring 2D quantum sensing technologies using emergent color centers beyond NVs [6].


  1. N. J. McLaughlin et al., Nano Lett. 22, 5810 (2022).
  2. G. Q. Yan et al., Adv. Mater. 34, 2200327 (2022).
  3. H. L. Wang et al., Sci. Adv. 8, eabg8562 (2022).
  4. X. Wang et al., npj Quantum Inf. 6, 78 (2020).
  5. G. Q. Yan et al., Phys. Rev. Appl. 18, 064031 (2022).
  6. M. Huang et al., Nat. Commun. 13, 5369 (2022).

More about the Speaker:

Chunhui Du is an Assistant Professor of Physics at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She received her B.S. in physics from East China Normal University in 2010, and Ph.D. in Physics from The Ohio State University in 2015. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University before joining UCSD in March 2019. Chunhui's current research focuses on developing color center-based quantum sensing technologies for studying emergent condensed matter systems. Chunhui Du has received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award (2021), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award (2021), Department of Energy (DOE) Early Career Award (2022), Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award (2023), and International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Early Career Scientist Prize (2022).

For more information, please contact Jennifer Blankenship by email at [email protected].