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Novel Nanostructures--Silver-plated Diamond Posts (Image 2)

Imperfections in the diamond can give the crystals a characteristic color

Imperfections (known as color centers) in the diamond can give the crystals a characteristic color. Nitrogen in these tiny diamonds (top) turns them yellow. Some imperfections including the nitrogen-vacancies explored in this research are luminescent, and can emit red photons one at a time, as well as behave as excellent optically addressable quantum memory. The chip at the bottom consists of diamond layered on silver.

Building on earlier work, Marko Loncar, an electrical engineer at the Laboratory for Nanoscale Optics at Harvard University, along with his postdoctoral researcher and his students, developed a manufacturing process that allows them to create an assortment of miniature, silver-plated diamond posts that enable greater control of light-producing photons at the atomic scale. The research could be important for future generations of quantum computers.

Prior research demonstrated how nanowires carved in impurity-laden diamond crystal could efficiently emit individual photons, an important discovery for using light to rapidly read and write quantum-based data. But this recent research shows that novel nanostructures--silver-plated diamond posts--can also control the speed at which the process emits individual photons. The development supports efforts to create robust, room temperature quantum computers by setting the stage for diamond-based microchips. Additionally, the technology could support new tools capable of measuring magnetic fields at the nanometer scale. [Note: The microdiamond powder used in this research was provided by Daniel Twitchen and the Element Six Company in the UK.]

To learn more, see the NSF Press Release Diamonds, Silver and the Quest for Single Photons. [Research supported by National Science Foundation grant ECCS 0708905.] (Date of Image: October 2011) [See related image Here.]

Credit: Eliza Grinnell, Harvard SEAS

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