Stimulated emission depletion microscopy resolves individual nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond nanocrystals
Authors: Arroyo-Camejo S, Adam MP, Besbes M, Hugonin JP, Jacques V, Greffet JJ, Roch JF, Hell SW, Treussart F
CellNetworks People: Hell Stefan
Journal: ACS Nano. 2013 Dec 23;7(12):10912-9. doi: 10.1021/nn404421b

Nitrogen-vacancy (NV) color centers in nanodiamonds are highly promising for bioimaging and sensing. However, resolving individual NV centers within nanodiamond particles and the controlled addressing and readout of their spin state has remained a major challenge. Spatially stochastic super-resolution techniques cannot provide this capability in principle, whereas coordinate-controlled super-resolution imaging methods, like stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, have been predicted to fail in nanodiamonds. Here we show that, contrary to these predictions, STED can resolve single NV centers in 40-250 nm sized nanodiamonds with a resolution of ≈10 nm. Even multiple adjacent NVs located in single nanodiamonds can be imaged individually down to relative distances of ≈15 nm. Far-field optical super-resolution of NVs inside nanodiamonds is highly relevant for bioimaging applications of these fluorescent nanolabels. The targeted addressing and readout of individual NV(-) spins inside nanodiamonds by STED should also be of high significance for quantum sensing and information applications.