The application of quantum mechanics in quantum sensing has grown exponentially in the past decade. Nitrogen Vacancy (NV) centers in nanodiamonds have emerged as a leading quantum sensing platform due to their room temperature coherence and functionality in engineering applications. In this work, with the Quantum Engineering Group at MIT, we propose the use of NV centers for biosensing to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus. A green laser excites the NV spins and when they decay to their ground state they emit red fluorescence, providing a mechanism for optical characterization. We can attach magnetic ions (gadolinium complexes) to the nanodiamonds that can bind to SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA. The binding then causes these complexes to detach from the nanodiamond due to the stronger magnetic spins produced. The detachment is revealed by longer fluorescence longitudinal relaxation times which we are able to measure. This work describes the first stage of this development project: we begin by characterizing the relaxation times of pure nanodiamonds before attaching gadolinium complexes and viral RNA on the nanodiamond surfaces. In order to comprehend this process from abstract quantum mechanics to applied physics, we also formulate a basis for how quantum sensing works, and why NV centers work as biosensors. This will help to provide a concrete case for the viability of NV centers in quantum sensing and in the proposed application.
Zulu, Temazulu S.
"SARS-CoV-2 Quantum Sensor Using NV Centers in Nanodiamonds,"
Macalester Journal of Physics and Astronomy: Vol. 11:
1, Article 19.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/mjpa/vol11/iss1/19