Assistant Professor of Physics Viva Horowitz recently presented “Luminscent colloids and beyond: From dynamic artificial cells to quantum emitters” at the weekly physics colloquium at Wesleyan University. She discussed how watching nano- and microscale particles in confined environments can reveal new physics.
Exploring the possibilities of using self-propelled particles to create a super-diffusive system that beats Brownian motion, Horowitz discussed how the motion of these particles can be investigated using holography and other optical techniques, and how these particles can be encapsulated in lipid vesicles or in droplets.
She also explained how luminescent quantum emitters act as simple quantum systems. She focused on nitrogen-vacancy color centers, which are embedded in nanoparticle diamonds, that have quantum spin states that are sensitive to magnetic fields via electron spin resonance.
Horowitz noted the challenges created by the sensitivity of spin states to impurities in the diamond crystals. She talked about her work on building a microfluidic device to sort nanodiamonds according to their optical properties in order to find the best diamond particles for spin-based sensing.