A novel technique that uses quantum light to measure temperature at the nanoscale


Illustration of nanoscale diamonds penetrating temperature of electronic circuits. Credit: Dr. Trong Toan Tran

Being able to measure, and display, temperature levels and temperature modifications at small scales—inside a cell or in micro and nano-electronic elements—has the capacity to effect lots of locations of research study from illness detection to a significant difficulty of contemporary calculation and interaction innovations, how to measure scalability and efficiency in electronic elements.


A collective group, led by researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), established a highly-sensitive nano-thermometer that uses atom-like additions in diamond nanoparticles to precisely measure temperature at the nanoscale. The sensing unit exploits the homes of these atom-like diamond additions on the quantum level, where the limitations of classical physics no longer use.

Diamond nanoparticles are very little particles—up to 10,000 times smaller sized than the width of a human hair—that fluoresce when lit up with a laser.

Senior Private Investigator, Dr. Carlo Bradac, UTS School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, stated the brand-new technique was not simply a “proof-of-concept realisation.”

“The method is immediately deployable. We are currently using it for measuring temperature variations both in biological samples and in high-power electronic circuits whose performance strongly rely on monitoring and controlling their temperature with sensitivities and at a scale hard to achieve with other methods,” Dr. Bradac stated.

The research study released in Science Advances, is a cooperation in between UTS scientists and global partners from the Russian Academy of Science (RU), Nanyang Technological University (SG) and Harvard University (United States).

Lead author, UTS physicist Dr. Trong Toan Tran, discussed that although pure diamond is transparent it “usually contains imperfections such as inclusions of foreign atoms.”

Researchers exploits nanoscale diamond particles as high accuracy thermometer. Credit: Dr. Carlo Bradac, and co-animated by Dr. Trong Toan Tran

“Beyond providing the diamond various colours, yellow, pink, blue, etc. the flaws give off light at particular wavelengths [colours] when penetrated with a laser beam,” states Dr. Tran.

The scientists discovered that there is an unique program—referred to as Anti-Stokes—in which the strength of the light released by these diamond colour pollutants depends extremely highly on the temperature of the surrounding environment. Since these diamond nanoparticles can be as little as simply a couple of nanometres they can be utilized as small nano-thermometers.

“We immediately realised we could harness this peculiar fluorescence-temperature dependence and use diamond nanoparticles as ultra-small temperature probes,” Dr. Bradac stated.

“This is particularly attractive as diamond is known to be non-toxic—thus suitable for measurements in delicate biological environments—as well as extremely resilient—hence ideal for measuring temperatures in very harsh environments up to several hundreds of degrees,” he included.

The scientists state that an essential benefit of the technique is that it is all-optical. The measurement just needs positioning a bead of the nanoparticles-in-water service in contact with the sample and after that determining—non-invasively—their optical fluorescence as a laser beam is shone on them.

Although comparable all-optical techniques utilizing nanoparticles have actually effectively determined temperature levels at the nanoscale, the research study group thinks that none have actually been able to attain both the level of sensitivity and the spatial resolution of the technique established at UTS. “We believe our sensor can measure temperatures with a sensitivity which is comparable—or superior—to that of the current best all-optical micro- and nano-thermometers, while featuring the highest spatial resolution to date,” Dr. Tran stated.

The scientists at UTS highlighted that nanoscale thermometry was the most apparent—yet far from the just—application making use of the Anti-Stokes program in quantum systems. The program can form the basis for checking out basic light-matter interactions in separated quantum systems at energies traditionally uncharted. It opens brand-new possibilities for a myriad of useful nanoscale noticing innovations, some as unique as optical refrigeration where light is utilized to cool off things.


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More details:
“Anti-Stokes excitation of solid-state quantum emitters for nanoscale thermometry,” Science Advances (2019). advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/5/eaav9180

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