Physical Chemistry

Surface NMR Using Quantum Sensors in Diamond


Characterization of the molecular properties of surfaces under ambient or chemically reactive conditions isa fundamental scientific challenge. Moreover, many traditional analytical techniques used for probing surfaces often lack dynamic or molecular selectivity, which limits their applicability for mechanistic and kinetic studies under realistic chemical conditions. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) is a widely used technique and would be ideal for probing interfaces due to the molecular information it provides noninvasively. However, it lacks the sensitivity to probe the small number of spins at surfaces. Here, we use nitrogen vacancy (NV) centers in diamond as quantum sensors to optically detect nuclear magnetic resonance signals fromchemically modified aluminum oxide surfaces, prepared with atomic layer deposition (ALD). With the surfaceNV-NMR technique, we are able to monitor in real-time the formation kinetics of a self assembled monolayer (SAM) based on phosphonate anchoring chemistry to the surface. This demonstrates the capability of quan-tum sensors as a new surface-sensitive tool with sub-monolayer sensitivity for in-situ NMR analysis with theadditional advantage of a strongly reduced technical complexity.


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