Robust and Accurate Electric Field Sensing with Solid State Spin Ensembles

Electron spins in solids constitute remarkable quantum sensors. Individual defect centers in diamond were used to detect individual nuclear spins with a nanometer scale resolution, and ensemble magnetometers rival SQUID and vapor cell magnetometers when taking into account room-temperature operation and size. NV center spins can also detect electric field vectors, despite their weak coupling to electric fields. Here, we employ ensembles of NV center spins to measure macroscopic AC electric fields with high precision. We utilize low strain, 12C enriched diamond to achieve the maximum sensitivity and tailor the spin Hamiltonian via the proper magnetic field adjustment to map out the AC electric field strength and polarization and arrive at refined electric field coupling constants. For high-precision measurements, we combine classical lock-in detection with aspects from quantum phase estimation for the effective suppression of technical noise. Eventually, this enables t–1/2 uncertainty scaling of the electric field strength over extended averaging periods, enabling us to reach a precision down to 10–7 V/μm for an AC electric field with a frequency of 2 kHz and an amplitude of 0.012 V/ μm.