Template-Assisted Self-Assembly of Fluorescent Nanodiamonds for Scalable Quantum Technologies

ACS Nano. 2022 Feb 22;16(2):1847-1856. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.1c09839. Epub 2022 Jan 13.


Milled nanodiamonds containing nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers are nanoscale quantum sensors that form colloidal dispersions. However, variations in their size, shape, and surface chemistry limit the ability to position individual nanodiamonds and statistically study properties that affect their optical and quantum characteristics. Here, we present a scalable strategy to form ordered arrays of nanodiamonds using capillary-driven, template-assisted self-assembly. We demonstrate the precise spatial arrangement of isolated nanodiamonds with diameters below 50 nm across millimeter-scale areas. Measurements of over 200 assembled nanodiamonds yield a statistical understanding of their structural, optical, and quantum properties. The NV centers' spin and charge properties are uncorrelated with nanodiamond size but rather are consistent with heterogeneity in their nanoscale environment.

Keywords: collodial self-assembly; nanodiamond; nitrogen-vacancy center; quantum sensing; templated self-assembly.