Hossein Dinani, Enrique Muñoz, and Jeronimo Maze, “Sensing Electrochemical Signals using a Nitrogen-Vacancy Center in Diamond”. Nanomaterials 11, 358 (2021)
Chemical sensors with high sensitivity that can be used under extreme conditions and can be miniaturized are of high interest in science and industry. The nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond is an ideal candidate as a nanosensor due to the long coherence time of its electron spin and its optical accessibility. In this theoretical work, we propose the use of an NV center to detect electrochemical signals emerging from an electrolyte solution, thus obtaining a concentration sensor. For this purpose, we propose the use of the inhomogeneous dephasing rate of the electron spin of the NV center (1/T★2) as a signal. We show that for a range of mean ionic concentrations in the bulk of the electrolyte solution, the electric field fluctuations produced by the diffusional fluctuations in the local concentration of ions result in dephasing rates that can be inferred from free induction decay measurements. Moreover, we show that for a range of concentrations, the electric field generated at the position of the NV center can be used to estimate the concentration of ions.