MICROwave quantum SENSing with diamond color centers

Detection and spectroscopy of weak microwave (>GHz) signals is of pivotal importance for key areas of modern technology, including wireless communication, radar, navigation and medical imaging. Solid state spins could be attractive sensors for both tasks since they have transition frequencies that can be tuned across the 1-100 GHz range. However high-frequency sensing by solid state spins has remained underexplored so far, and most demonstrations of spin sensing have focused on low-frequency (<10MHz) signals.

The main reason is that well-established quantum sensing protocols suffer from a low efficiency in the high frequency domain. Furthermore, implementation of spin quantum sensors is not as mature compared to highly integrated microwave electronics. The purpose of the MICROSENS proposal is to use the well-known Nitrogen-Vacancy (NV) diamond colour centre as a tool to address these issues. We will build two different prototypes of microwave sensors based on the NV spin properties: a single microwave photon detector and a wideband quantum spectrum analyser. Theoretical aspects will also be jointly addressed by the MICROSENS proposal since understanding the ultimate limits of noise for high-frequency spin sensing will be one of the main objectives of the MICROSENS proposal.

Led by an industrial partner, MICROSENS federates leading European groups of experimental materials science, solid-state spin sensing and cavity QED. MICROSENS thereby brings together all the necessary blocks to achieve the ambitious target of producing MW detectors with outstanding performances occurring from the quantum properties of the probe.


  • Coordinator: Thierry Debuisschert (Thales Research & Technology, FR)
  • Alexandre Tallaire (LSPM, FR)
  • Jan Meijer (University Leipzig, DE)
  • Friedemann Reinhard (TU München, Walter Schottky Institut, DE)
  • Fedor Jelezko (Universität Ulm, DE)
  • Johannes Majer (Wolfgang Pauli Institut / Atominstitut, TU Wien , AT)