Quantum Sensing & Defect Discovery and Spectroscopy lab


Welcome to the webpage of the Quantum Sensing & Defect Discovery and Spectroscopy lab at the Mechanical & Materials Engineering Department, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Our research interests lie at the intersection of experimental condensed matter physics with quantum optics and materials science to tackle outstanding challenges in nanoscale metrology, quantum computing, and physical science. We are pursuing three-main directions: i) Quantum Sensing using  nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond (nanoscale probing of condensed matter physics phenomena, biosensing); ii) exploring novel solid-state materials based on color centers in wide bandgap semiconductors and two dimensional materials for quantum sensing, quantum computing, optoelectronics, and spintronics applications; iii) coupling disant spin qubits using magnetic and optical cavities for scalable quantum networks. 

We are hiring motivated postdocs and graduate students to join our group and work in very friendly and productive environment. Please feel free to email Dr. Laraoui at alaraoui2@unl.edu or just stop by his office, located in Nebraska Hall, Room W312.

Recent News:

May 25th, 2021: Dr. Kapil Ambal and his PhD student Sajib Halder from Wichita State University, KS (WSU) are visiting our group for the summer to perform nanofabrication at NCMN and research on NV magnetic microscopy of magnetic nano-memories. His research and visit is supported by NSF

May 24th, 2021: Dr. Laraoui (Focused Research Group (FRG) 2 leader in quantum metrology and technologies) with other PIs from Nebraska has received a five-year, $20 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to create a research and education cluster aimed at enhancing the state’s competitiveness in the field of emergent quantum materials and technologies, and boosting the participating institutions’ research and education capacity. The Nebraska EPSCoR-Emergent Quantum Materials and Technologies (EQUATE) collaboration will revolutionize quantum science and create opportunities in education and through economic development. This announcement was featured by NSF, UNL, the Lincoln Journal Star, and many other resources.

The Nebraska EPSCoR-Emergent Quantum Materials and Technologies collaboration will revolutionize quantum science and create opportunities in education and through economic development. The Nebraska leaders in the effort are (from left): Abdelghani Laraoui, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Nebraska; Jonathan Wrubel, associate professor of physics at Creighton University; Xia Hong, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Nebraska; Christian Binek, Charles Bessey Professor of physics at Nebraska and EQUATE scientific director; Rebecca Lai, associate professor of chemistry at Nebraska and EQUATE associate director; and Matt Andrews, Nebraska EPSCoR director and EQUATE principal investigator.

May 12th, 2021: 

Adam Ericskon, 2nd year PhD student, made significant progress in building a new home-built confocal/SPM system from scratch, despite the challenges caused by Covid-19. Congratulations and look forward to exciting projects and high-impact publications the next few years.


(Left) Picture of home-built NV-SPM. (Middle) Single NV in diamond probe. (Right) First NV-SPM image of magnetic domains in a floppy disc.

February 15, 2021: Dr. Laraoui is among the faculty acknowledged by Chancellor Green, for their work on quantum science and engineering, one of the five grand challenges selected  for Grand Challenges framework vision 2025.

January 25th, 2021: Dr. Laraoui offered a new class for Spring 2021, designed for senior undergraduates and graduate students at all levels, MATL/MECH 492/892: Introduction to Quantum Materials and technologies. This class covered basic topics (coherence, entanglement, two-level system, etc.) to advanced technologies (quantum cryptography, quantum supremacy, etc.).

September 15th 2020: Dr. Laraoui presented his research on quantum diamond microscopy:  A new tool for quantum sensing at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Creighton University, Omaha, NE.

September 1st, 2020: Rupak Timalsina joined our group as a PhD student and will work on quantum sensing microscopy using color centers in diamond  and 2D materials

April 6th, 2020: Dr. Laraoui gave a zoom seminar on quantum sensing based on diamond nitrogen vacancy centers at joint biweekly AMES/ Iowa State University zoom meetings.

March 26th, 2020: Dr. Laraoui gave a zoom presentation on quantum sensing at UNL’s  symposium on Emergent Quantum Materials and Technologies (EQUATE)

January 13th, 2020: Adam Erickson and Wai Kiat (Walter) Chin joined our group as graduate students and will work on quantum microscopy using color centers in diamond  for nanoscale imaging of spin textures, spin dyanmics, and spin currents in magnetic nanomaterials, low dimensional materials, and thin films/multilayers. Welcome Adam and Walter! 

October 21st, 2019: We have been awarded NSF MRSEC seed to map room-temperature skyrmions in ferromagnetic multilayers and ferrimagnetic spinels using diamond scanning probe microscopy!

October 16th, 2019: Abdelghani gave a seminar at Nebraska Center of Materials and Nanoscience on his recent and ongoing research at UNM and UNL on diamond quantum sensing.

August 1st, 2019: We are starting NSF-DMR grant #1809800 throught 8/31/2021 to study transition-metal nanoparticles (size < 20 nm) using time resolved diamond magnetic microscopy.

Check out our recent papers:

J. Smits, et al., Sub-Hertz two dimensional NMR spectroscopy of molecules using Nitrogen Vacancy centers in diamond, Science Advances 5 eaaw7895 (2019). In the news: UNM, Phys.org

D. Kikuchi, et al., Long-distance excitation of nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond via surface spin waves,  Applied Physics Express, 10 103004 (2017).

P. Kehayias, et al., Solution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy on a nanostructured diamond chip, Nature Communications 8, 108 (2017). In the news: CHTM-UNM

A. Laraoui, et al., Imaging thermal conductivity with nanoscale resolution using a scanning spin probe, Nature Communications 6, 8954 (2015). In the news: CCNY

M. E. Trusheim, L. Li, A. Laraoui, et al., Scalable Fabrication of High Purity Diamond Nanocrystals with Long-Spin-Coherence Nitrogen Vacancy Centers, Nano Letters, 14 (1), 32-36 (2014). In the News: NanoTechWeb, PhysicsWorld, Nature News Feature

A. Laraoui, et al., High-Resolution Correlation Spectroscopy of 13C Spins Near a Nitrogen-Vacancy Center in Diamond,” Nature Communications 4, 1651 (2013).


Our labs are located at Scott Engineering building (Lab 127.4A, Lab 250), 844 N 16th St, Lincoln, NE 68508. We have access to world-class facilities, including the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience (NCMN) and Nano-Engineering Research Core Facility (NERCF) at UNL’s College of Engineering.  


We are hiring postdocs, undergraduates and graduate students to join our lab. Contact Dr. Laraoui at alaraoui2@unl.edu for more details how to apply or just stop by his office 312, located at Nebraska Hall.