Electron spin resonance (ESR) is a powerful spectroscopy method which allows to identify and characterize paramagnetic species. It usually relies on detecting microwave radiation absorbed or emitted by the spins into a microwave resonator tuned to their Larmor precession frequency. Because of the weak spin-microwave coupling, conventional ESR spectroscopy has a low sensitivity. Recent experiments have demonstrated that superconducting quantum circuits have the potential to enhance the spin detection sensitivity to single spin detection; by namely using high quality factor small mode volume resonator. However, these demonstrations have been realized in very restrictive conditions, using well-known spin systems. To probe samples coming from chemistry or biology, quantum-circuit enabled spectrometers have to be adapted to be robust to losses. They have typically two origins: the dielectric losses introduced by the samples, mostly aqueous, and losses coming from the strong magnetic field required to tune the electronic spins to the resonator frequency. This PhD work centered on implementing a resonator that would achieve the same ESR sensitivity while being robust to dielectric losses and strong magnetic fields. Using NbTiN films deposited on sapphire, microwave resonators were shown to have quality factors above Q=105 in magnetic field, even when samples with dielectric losses above tan d > 0.05 were introduced. A study of the resonator intrinsic losses showed marked drops at multiple specific magnetic fields: a signature of coupling to spurious systems. Over the course of the PhD, mitigation nanofabrication techniques for these contaminants were developed, such as hard mask etching and annealing, to remove all but one of this contaminants. Finally, test of the spectrometer on a benchmark species (BDPA, α,γ-Bisdiphenylene-β-phenylallyl, a known ESR marker) were realized.
Agenda de l'ENS de Lyon