High-throughput nitrogen-vacancy center imaging for nanodiamond photophysical characterization and pH nanosensing†
The fluorescent nitrogen-vacancy (NV) defect in diamond has remarkable photophysical properties, including high photostability which allows stable fluorescence emission for hours; as a result, there has been much interest in using nanodiamonds (NDs) for applications in quantum optics and biological imaging. Such applications have been limited by the heterogeneity of NDs and our limited understanding of NV photophysics in NDs, which is partially due to the lack of sensitive and high-throughput methods for photophysical analysis of NDs. Here, we report a systematic analysis of NDs using two-color wide-field epifluorescence imaging coupled to high-throughput single-particle detection of single NVs in NDs with sizes down to 5–10 nm. By using fluorescence intensity ratios, we observe directly the charge conversion of single NV center (NV− or NV0) and measure the lifetimes of different NV charge states in NDs. We also show that we can use changes in pH to control the main NV charge states in a direct and reversible fashion, a discovery that paves the way for performing pH nanosensing with a non-photobleachable probe.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles