Dark spins light up

Oct 25, 2005

Want to see a diamond? Forget the jewellery store - try a physics laboratory. In the November issue of Nature Physics, Ryan Epstein and colleagues demonstrate the power of their microscope for imaging individual nitrogen atoms that sit at vacant sites in the diamond structure.

Such ‘vacancy’ centres have a long lifetime within the diamond host and could be used as the basis for a room-temperature quantum computer.

Because of the potential application as a bit of quantum information, the single magnetic spin (pointing up or down) associated with the extra electron of a nitrogen atom has featured in many different experiments.

The latest involves a room-temperature microscope that detects light emitted by a nitrogen vacancy centre. Through their precise control of the alignment of the magnetic field, the researchers can also detect local non-luminescing impurities that couple to the nitrogen vacancy centres.

The vacancy centres light the way to neighbouring 'dark' spins that normally would not be detected. These dark spins have a longer life-time than that of the vacancy atoms, and could be potentially more useful for applications involving quantum information processing.

Publication:
Anisotropic interactions of a single spin and dark-spin spectroscopy in diamond

R. J. Epstein, F. M. Mendoza, Y. K. Kato, D. D. Awschalom

Nature Physics (16 Oct 2005) Letters
DOI: 10.1038/nphys141

Source: Nature

Explore further: Black phosphorus is new 'wonder material' for improving optical communication

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shows one reason why pigeons so rarely crash

1 hour ago

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with Harvard University has uncovered one of the secrets behind pigeons' impressive flight abilities. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of ...

Recommended for you

Scientists provide new data on the nature of dark matter

2 hours ago

Recent research conducted by scientists from the University of Granada sheds light on the nature of dark matter, one of the most important mysteries in physics. As indirect evidence provided by its gravitational ...

Why seashells' mineral forms differently in seawater

5 hours ago

For almost a century, scientists have been puzzled by a process that is crucial to much of the life in Earth's oceans: Why does calcium carbonate, the tough material of seashells and corals, sometimes take ...

Giant virus revealed in 3-D using X-ray laser

6 hours ago

For the first time, researchers have produced a 3-D image revealing part of the inner structure of an intact, infectious virus, using a unique X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator ...

Magnetic vortices in nanodisks reveal information

6 hours ago

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) together with a colleague at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Strasbourg ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.