Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Colored diamonds are a superconductor’s best friend

The crystal lattice of a pure diamond is pure carbon (black balls), but when a nitrogen atom replaces one carbon and an adjacent carbon is kicked out, the ‘nitrogen-vacancy center’ becomes a sensitive magnetic field sensor.
The crystal lattice of a pure diamond is pure carbon (black balls), but when a nitrogen atom replaces one carbon and an adjacent carbon is kicked out, the ‘nitrogen-vacancy center’ becomes a sensitive magnetic field sensor.

Abstract:
Flawed but colorful diamonds are among the most sensitive detectors of magnetic fields known today, allowing physicists to explore the minuscule magnetic fields in metals, exotic materials and even human tissue.

Colored diamonds are a superconductor’s best friend

Berkeley, CA | Posted on March 6th, 2014

University of California, Berkeley, physicist Dmitry Budker and his colleagues at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and UCLA have now shown that these diamond sensors can measure the tiny magnetic fields in high-temperature superconductors, providing a new tool to probe these much ballyhooed but poorly understood materials.

"Diamond sensors will give us measurements that will be useful in understanding the physics of high temperature superconductors, which, despite the fact that their discoverers won a 1987 Nobel Prize, are still not understood," said Budker, a professor of physics and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

High-temperature superconductors are exotic mixes of materials like yttrium or bismuth that, when chilled to around 180 degrees Fahrenheit above absolute zero (-280ºF), lose all resistance to electricity, whereas low-temperature superconductors must be chilled to several degrees above absolute zero. When discovered 28 years ago, scientists predicted we would soon have room-temperature superconductors for lossless electrical transmission or magnetically levitated trains.

It never happened.

"The new probe may shed light on high-temperature superconductors and help theoreticians crack this open question," said coauthor Ron Folman of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who is currently a Miller Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley. "With the help of this new sensor, we may be able to take a step forward."

Budker, Folman and their colleagues report their success in an article posted online Feb. 18 in the journal Physical Review B.

Flawed but colorful

Colorful diamonds, ranging from yellow and orange to purple, have been prized for millennia. Their color derives from flaws in the gem's carbon structure: some of the carbon atoms have been replaced by an element, such as boron, that emits or absorbs a specific color of light.

Once scientists learned how to create synthetic diamonds, they found that they could selectively alter a diamond's optical properties by injecting impurities. In this experiment, Budker, Folman and their colleagues bombarded a synthetic diamond with nitrogen atoms to knock out carbon atoms, leaving holes in some places and nitrogen atoms in others. They then heated the crystal to force the holes, called vacancies, to move around and pair with nitrogen atoms, resulting in diamonds with so-called nitrogen-vacancy centers. For the negatively charged centers, the amount of light they re-emit when excited with light becomes very sensitive to magnetic fields, allowing them to be used as sensors that are read out by laser spectroscopy.

Folman noted that color centers in diamonds have the unique property of exhibiting quantum behavior, whereas most other solids at room temperature do not.

"This is quite surprising, and is part of the reason that these new sensors have such a high potential," Folman said.

Applications in homeland security?

Technology visionaries are thinking about using nitrogen-vacancy centers to probe for cracks in metals, such as bridge structures or jet engine blades, for homeland security applications, as sensitive rotation sensors, and perhaps even as building blocks for quantum computers.

Budker, who works on sensitive magnetic field detectors, and Folman, who builds ‘atom chips' to probe and manipulate atoms, focused in this work on using these magnetometers to study new materials.

"These diamond sensors combine high sensitivity with the potential for high spatial resolution, and since they operate at higher temperatures than their competitors - superconducting quantum interference device, or SQUID, magnetometers - they turn out to be good for studying high temperature superconductors," Budker said. "Although several techniques already exist for magnetic probing of superconducting materials, there is a need for new methods which will offer better performance."

The team used their diamond sensor to measure properties of a thin layer of yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO), one of the two most popular types of high-temperatures superconductor. The Ben-Gurion group integrated the diamond sensor with the superconductor on one chip and used it to detect the transition from normal conductivity to superconductivity, when the material expels all magnetic fields. The sensor also detected tiny magnetic vortices, which appear and disappear as the material becomes superconducting and may be a key to understanding how these materials become superconducting at high temperatures.

"Now that we have proved it is possible to probe high-temperatures superconductors, we plan to build more sensitive and higher-resolution sensors on a chip to study the structure of an individual magnetic vortex," Folman said. "We hope to discover something new that cannot be seen with other technologies."

Researchers, including Budker and Folman, are attempting to solve other mysteries through magnetic sensing. For example, they are investigating networks of nerve cells by detecting the magnetic field each nerve cell pulse emits. In another project, they aim at detecting strange never-before-observed entities called axions through their effect on magnetic sensors.

Coauthors include Amir Waxman, Yechezkel Schlussel and David Groswasser of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, UC Berkeley Ph.D. graduate Victor Acosta, who is now at Google [x] in Mountain View, Calif., and former UC Berkeley post-doc Louis Bouchard, now a UCLA assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

The work was supported by the NATO Science for Peace program, AFOSR/DARPA QuASAR program, the National Science Foundation and UC Berkeley's Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Robert Sanders

510-643-6998

Copyright © University of California, Berkeley

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Diamond magnetometry of superconducting thin films (Physical Review B):

Dmitry Budker’s website:

Ron Folman’s Atom Chip lab:

Related News Press

Superconductivity

Scientists create laser-activated superconductor February 8th, 2016

Chiral magnetic effect generates quantum current: Separating left- and right-handed particles in a semi-metallic material produces anomalously high conductivity February 8th, 2016

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

News and information

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Chiral magnetic effect generates quantum current: Separating left- and right-handed particles in a semi-metallic material produces anomalously high conductivity February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Quantum Computing

Nanoscale cavity strongly links quantum particles: Single photons can quickly modify individual electrons embedded in a semiconductor chip and vice versa February 8th, 2016

Chiral magnetic effect generates quantum current: Separating left- and right-handed particles in a semi-metallic material produces anomalously high conductivity February 8th, 2016

New invention revolutionizes heat transport February 1st, 2016

A new quantum approach to big data January 25th, 2016

Sensors

Scientists have put a high precision blood assay into a simple test strip: Researchers have developed a new biosensor test system based on magnetic nanoparticles February 3rd, 2016

Nanosheet growth technique could revolutionize nanomaterial production February 1st, 2016

New record in nanoelectronics at ultralow temperatures January 28th, 2016

NBC LEARN DEBUTS SIX-PART VIDEO SERIES, “NANOTECHNOLOGY: SUPER SMALL SCIENCE” Produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the National Science Foundation, and narrated by NBC News/MSNBC’s Kate Snow, series highlights leading research in nanotechnology January 25th, 2016

Discoveries

A fast solidification process makes material crackle February 8th, 2016

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

Graphene decharging and molecular shielding February 8th, 2016

A fast solidification process makes material crackle February 8th, 2016

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Graphene is strong, but is it tough? Berkeley Lab scientists find that polycrystalline graphene is not very resistant to fracture February 7th, 2016

Announcements

Scientists create laser-activated superconductor February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Tools

Chiral magnetic effect generates quantum current: Separating left- and right-handed particles in a semi-metallic material produces anomalously high conductivity February 8th, 2016

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Cornell researchers create first self-assembled superconductor February 1st, 2016

Homeland Security

Detecting and identifying explosives with single test December 10th, 2015

Columbia engineers build biologically powered chip: System combines biological ion channels with solid-state transistors to create a new kind of electronics December 7th, 2015

Nanoparticle delivery maximizes drug defense against bioterrorism agent: UCLA team develops method for improving drug’s efficacy while reducing side effects November 6th, 2015

Toward clearer, cheaper imaging of ultrafast phenomena: A new, all-optical method for compressing narrow electron pulses to a billionth of a billionth of a second could improve real-time movies of chemical reactions and other ultrafast processes October 14th, 2015

Aerospace/Space

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer: Hybrid polymers could lead to new concepts in self-repairing materials, drug delivery and artificial muscles January 30th, 2016

Scientists build a neural network using plastic memristors: A group of Russian and Italian scientists have created a neural network based on polymeric memristors -- devices that can potentially be used to build fundamentally new computers January 28th, 2016

Deep Space Industries teams with UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory to demonstrate autonomous spacecraft maneuvering: SFL and DSI demonstrate enabling technology for low-cost asteroid missions and constellations January 25th, 2016

Graphene composite may keep wings ice-free: Rice University develops conductive material to heat surfaces, simplify ice removal January 25th, 2016

Construction

New type of nanowires, built with natural gas heating: UNIST research team developed a new simple nanowire manufacturing technique February 1st, 2016

SiC Nanoparticles Applied to Modify Properties of Portland Cement January 14th, 2016

Application of Graphene Structures to Produce Fireproof, Anticorrosive Nanocoatings October 21st, 2015

Carbon Nanotubes Applied to Create Electrical Conductivity in Woolen Fabrics September 30th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic