Quantum Optics INRIM

Color centers in diamond

Color centers in diamond are quantum systems with a great applicability in many interdisciplinary fields. One important example is the Nitrogen-Vacancy (NV) center, whose photo-emission and electron-spin resonance properties even at room temperature have allowed the demonstration of its capabilities asreliable solid-state single-photon emitter and quantum sensor.

In our labs, featuring 3 Single-photon-sensitive confocal microscopes, we study, in collaboration with University of Turin, the properties of color centers at room temperature and in cryogenic conditions (having demonstrated single-photon emission by novel centers [1] related He, Sn, Pb, F, etc), contributing to the quest for the ideal, on-demand single-photon source (SPS) of practical interest in the emerging quantum technologies.

We are actively involved in the efforts for the standardization of these quantum objects[2] and we exploit the nonclassicalproperties of SPSs to perform quantum enhanced measurements [3].


In recent years, our research scope has broadened to include the sensing of magnetic field [4] and temperature [5] in biological systems exploiting the fact that

NV centres are optically addressable and coherently controllable by microwaves even at room temperature and can be used as quantum sensors. We discovered that working in a “tranverse field regime” lead to an increase in the sensitivity of a temperature measurement.

We are investigating the possibility of sensing magnetic field of biological origin and temperature changes related to physiological process inside the cell.

Recent highlights

Most relevant pubblications



[1] S. Ditalia Tchernij, et al. "Single-photon emitters in lead-implanted single-crystal diamond" ACS Photonics 5 (12), 4864 – 4871 (2018), journal cover.


[2] E. Moreva, et al., "Feasibility study towards comparison of the g(2)(0) measurement in the visible range", Metrologia 56, 015016 (2019).


[3] D. Gatto Monticone, et al. "Beating the Abbe diffraction limit in confocal microscopy via non classical photon statistics", Phys. Rev. Lett. 113 (14), 143602 (2014).


[4] Bernardi, Ettore, et al. "A biocompatible technique for magnetic field sensing at (sub) cellular scale using Nitrogen-Vacancy centers." EPJ Quantum Technology 7, 13 (2020).


[5] Moreva, E., et al. "Practical applications of quantum sensing: A simple method to enhance the sensitivity of nitrogen-vacancy-based temperature sensors." Physical Review Applied 13, 054057 (2020)