Optical hyperpolarization of C 13 nuclear spins in nanodiamond ensembles

Q. Chen, I. Schwarz, F. Jelezko, A. Retzker, M. B. Plenio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dynamical nuclear polarization holds the key for orders of magnitude enhancements of nuclear magnetic resonance signals which, in turn, would enable a wide range of novel applications in biomedical sciences. However, current implementations of DNP require cryogenic temperatures and long times for achieving high polarization. Here we propose and analyze in detail protocols that can achieve rapid hyperpolarization of C13 nuclear spins in randomly oriented ensembles of nanodiamonds at room temperature. Our protocols exploit a combination of optical polarization of electron spins in nitrogen-vacancy centers and the transfer of this polarization to C13 nuclei by means of microwave control to overcome the severe challenges that are posed by the random orientation of the nanodiamonds and their nitrogen-vacancy centers. Specifically, these random orientations result in exceedingly large energy variations of the electron spin levels that render the polarization and coherent control of the nitrogen-vacancy center electron spins as well as the control of their coherent interaction with the surrounding C13 nuclear spins highly inefficient. We address these challenges by a combination of an off-resonant microwave double resonance scheme in conjunction with a realization of the integrated solid effect which, together with adiabatic rotations of external magnetic fields or rotations of nanodiamonds, leads to a protocol that achieves high levels of hyperpolarization of the entire nuclear-spin bath in a randomly oriented ensemble of nanodiamonds even at room temperature. This hyperpolarization together with the long nuclear-spin polarization lifetimes in nanodiamonds and the relatively high density of C13 nuclei has the potential to result in a major signal enhancement in C13 nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and suggests functionalized and hyperpolarized nanodiamonds as a unique probe for molecular imaging both in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number184420
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - 18 Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical hyperpolarization of C 13 nuclear spins in nanodiamond ensembles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this