At Fraunhofer IAF we are developing diamond with a single nitrogen vacancy center in the tip for high-resolution scanning probe quantum magnetometry. For the first time, it is now possible to measure magnetic field distributions at the atomic level, which has not been possible with previous methods. The current flows of micro and nanoelectronic circuits can be mapped with high resolution, for example, which is very useful for failure analysis. Furthermore, these kinds of quantum sensors can be used for GPS-independent navigation, which opens up applications for autonomous driving, for example.
For the production of diamond magnetometer tips, Fraunhofer IAF has an excellent clean room infrastructure that allows for semi-industrial manufacturing processes. In addition to state-of-the-art lithography tools such as laser lithography and electron beam lithography, extensive expertise has been built up in the dry chemical structuring of poly- and single-crystalline diamond. In recent years, development at Fraunhofer IAF has increasingly focused on the homoepitaxy of extremely pure diamond including isotopically pure 12C diamond layers, as well as p- and n-doping of diamond. In the area of NV centers in diamond, we have developed the technology for the targeted generation of these centers at defined points in diamond tips, and have perfected the dry etching processes for the production of diamond tips. It is precisely this ability to set a defined charge state that is key to the realization of reliable quantum sensors based on NV centers in diamond.