Magnetic imaging with ensembles of nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centres in diamond is a recently developed technique that allows for quantitative vector field mapping. Here we uncover a source of artefacts in the measured magnetic field in situations where the magnetic sample is placed in close proximity (a few tens of nm) to the NV sensing layer. Using magnetic nanoparticles as a test sample, we find that the measured field deviates significantly from the calculated field, in shape, amplitude and even in sign. By modelling the full measurement process, we show that these discrepancies are caused by the limited measurement range of NV sensors combined with the finite spatial resolution of the optical readout. We numerically investigate the role of the stand-off distance to identify an artefact-free regime, and discuss an application to ultrathin materials. This work provides a guide to predict and mitigate proximity-induced artefacts that can arise in NV-based wide-field magnetic imaging, and also demonstrates that the sensitivity of these artefacts to the sample can make them a useful tool for magnetic characterisation.
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