A. Cooper, E. Magesan, H. N. Yum, and P. Cappellaro
Nature Communications 5, Article number: 3141 | doi:10.1038/ncomms4141
Received 08 June 2013 | Accepted 18 December 2013 | Published 24 January 2014
Quantum probes can measure time-varying fields with high sensitivity and spatial resolution, enabling the study of biological, material and physical phenomena at the nanometre scale. In particular, nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond have recently emerged as promising sensors of magnetic and electric fields. Although coherent control techniques have measured the amplitude of constant or oscillating fields, these techniques are not suitable for measuring time-varying fields with unknown dynamics. Here we introduce a coherent acquisition method to accurately reconstruct the temporal profile of time-varying fields using Walsh sequences. These decoupling sequences act as digital filters that efficiently extract spectral coefficients while suppressing decoherence, thus providing improved sensitivity over existing strategies. We experimentally reconstruct the magnetic field radiated by a physical model of a neuron using a single electronic spin in diamond and discuss practical applications. These results will be useful to implement time-resolved magnetic sensing with quantum probes at the nanometre scale.