We describe a scanning device where a single spin is used as an ultrasensitive, nanoscale magnetic field sensor. As this “probe spin” we consider a single nitrogen-vacancy defect center in a diamond nanocrystal, attached to the tip of the scanning device. Changes in the local field seen by the probe spin are detected by optically monitoring its electron paramagnetic resonance transition. The room-temperature scanning device may be useful for performing nanoscale magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, and for the characterization of magnetic nanostructures down to the single atom level.

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