Nanometre-scale thermometry in a living cell

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • G. Kucsko
  • P. C. Maurer
  • N. Y. Yao
  • M. Kubo
  • H. J. Noh
  • H. Park
  • M. D. Lukin


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-58
Journal / PublicationNature
Issue number7460
Online published31 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


Sensitive probing of temperature variations on nanometre scales is an outstanding challenge in many areas of modern science and technology. In particular, a thermometer capable of subdegree temperature resolution over a large range of temperatures as well as integration within a living system could provide a powerful new tool in many areas of biological, physical and chemical research. Possibilities range from the temperature-induced control of gene expression and tumour metabolism to the cell-selective treatment of disease and the study of heat dissipation in integrated circuits. By combining local light-induced heat sources with sensitive nanoscale thermometry, it may also be possible to engineer biological processes at the subcellular level. Here we demonstrate a new approach to nanoscale thermometry that uses coherent manipulation of the electronic spin associated with nitrogen-vacancy colour centres in diamond. Our technique makes it possible to detect temperature variations as small as 1.8 mK (a sensitivity of 9 mK Hz -1/2) in an ultrapure bulk diamond sample. Using nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond nanocrystals (nanodiamonds), we directly measure the local thermal environment on length scales as short as 200 nanometres. Finally, by introducing both nanodiamonds and gold nanoparticles into a single human embryonic fibroblast, we demonstrate temperature-gradient control and mapping at the subcellular level, enabling unique potential applications in life sciences. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Citation Format(s)

Nanometre-scale thermometry in a living cell. / Kucsko, G.; Maurer, P. C.; Yao, N. Y.; Kubo, M.; Noh, H. J.; Lo, P. K.; Park, H.; Lukin, M. D.

In: Nature, Vol. 500, No. 7460, 01.08.2013, p. 54-58.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review