Dark spins light up

October 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: Defects in diamond: A unique platform for optical data storage in 3-D

Related Stories

Researchers trace neural activity by using quantum sensors

December 20, 2016

It's one of the purest and most versatile materials in the world, with uses in everything from jewelry to industrial abrasives to quantum science. But a group of Harvard scientists has uncovered a new use for diamonds: tracking ...

Recommended for you

Facts, beliefs, and identity: The seeds of science skepticism

January 22, 2017

Psychological researchers are working to understand the cognitive processes, ideologies, cultural demands, and conspiracy beliefs that cause smart people to resist scientific messages. Using surveys, experiments, observational ...

'Droneboarding' takes off in Latvia

January 22, 2017

Skirted on all sides by snow-clad pine forests, Latvia's remote Lake Ninieris would be the perfect picture of winter tranquility—were it not for the huge drone buzzing like a swarm of angry bees as it zooms above the solid ...

Singapore 2G switchoff highlights digital divide

January 22, 2017

When Singapore pulls the plug on its 2G mobile phone network this year, thousands of people could be stuck without a signal—digital have-nots left behind by the relentless march of technology.

Freeze-dried food and 1 bathroom: 6 simulate Mars in dome

January 20, 2017

Crammed into a dome with one bathroom, six scientists will spend eight months munching on mostly freeze-dried foods—with a rare treat of Spam—and have only their small sleeping quarters to retreat to for solace.

0 comments

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.