Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

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

News and information

Nano Ruffles in Brain Matter: Freiburg researchers decipher the role of nanostructures around brain cells in central nervous system function October 31st, 2014

Gold nanoparticle chains confine light to the nanoscale October 31st, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 2014

Device invented at Johns Hopkins provides up-close look at cancer on the move: Microscopic view of metastasis could give insight about how to keep cancer in check October 31st, 2014

Superconductivity

New evidence for an exotic, predicted superconducting state October 27th, 2014

Superconducting circuits, simplified: New circuit design could unlock the power of experimental superconducting computer chips October 18th, 2014

Elusive Quantum Transformations Found Near Absolute Zero: Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University researchers measured the quantum fluctuations behind a novel magnetic material's ultra-cold ferromagnetic phase transition September 15th, 2014

Study finds physical link to strange electronic behavior: Neutron measurements offer new clues about iron-based superconductor July 31st, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Gold nanoparticle chains confine light to the nanoscale October 31st, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 2014

Device invented at Johns Hopkins provides up-close look at cancer on the move: Microscopic view of metastasis could give insight about how to keep cancer in check October 31st, 2014

'Electronic skin' could improve early breast cancer detection October 29th, 2014

Quantum Computing

Sussex physicists find simple solution for quantum technology challenge October 28th, 2014

1980s aircraft helps quantum technology take flight October 20th, 2014

Australian teams set new records for silicon quantum computing October 12th, 2014

Ultrafast remote switching of light emission October 2nd, 2014

Sensors

Gold nanoparticle chains confine light to the nanoscale October 31st, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 2014

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact October 29th, 2014

MEMS & Sensors Technology Showcase: Finalists Announced for MEMS Executive Congress US 2014 October 23rd, 2014

Discoveries

Nano Ruffles in Brain Matter: Freiburg researchers decipher the role of nanostructures around brain cells in central nervous system function October 31st, 2014

Gold nanoparticle chains confine light to the nanoscale October 31st, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 2014

Device invented at Johns Hopkins provides up-close look at cancer on the move: Microscopic view of metastasis could give insight about how to keep cancer in check October 31st, 2014

Materials/Metamaterials

Production of Biocompatible Polymers in Iran October 30th, 2014

New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat: SunShot Project aims to make solar cost competitive October 29th, 2014

Watching the hidden life of materials: Ultrafast electron diffraction experiments open a new window on the microscopic world October 27th, 2014

Polymeric Scaffold Recreates Bladder Tissue October 27th, 2014

Announcements

Nano Ruffles in Brain Matter: Freiburg researchers decipher the role of nanostructures around brain cells in central nervous system function October 31st, 2014

Gold nanoparticle chains confine light to the nanoscale October 31st, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 2014

Device invented at Johns Hopkins provides up-close look at cancer on the move: Microscopic view of metastasis could give insight about how to keep cancer in check October 31st, 2014

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

Nano Ruffles in Brain Matter: Freiburg researchers decipher the role of nanostructures around brain cells in central nervous system function October 31st, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 2014

Device invented at Johns Hopkins provides up-close look at cancer on the move: Microscopic view of metastasis could give insight about how to keep cancer in check October 31st, 2014

Production of Biocompatible Polymers in Iran October 30th, 2014

Tools

Device invented at Johns Hopkins provides up-close look at cancer on the move: Microscopic view of metastasis could give insight about how to keep cancer in check October 31st, 2014

A new cheap and efficient method to improve SERS, an ultra-sensitive chemical detection technique October 28th, 2014

New Compact SIMS at 61st AVS | Visit us on Booth 311 October 28th, 2014

New nanodevice to improve cancer treatment monitoring October 27th, 2014

Homeland Security

Microrockets fueled by water neutralize chemical and biological warfare agents October 29th, 2014

NanoTechnology for Defense (NT4D) October 22nd, 2014

UT Arlington researchers develop transparent nanoscintillators for radiation detection for medical safety and homeland security September 29th, 2014

Seeking Nanoscale Defenses for Biological and Chemical Threats: WPI co-organizes a NATO workshop to improve the detection and decontamination of biological and chemical agents September 13th, 2014

Aerospace/Space

New evidence for an exotic, predicted superconducting state October 27th, 2014

Novel Rocket Design Flight Tested: New Rocket Propellant and Motor Design Offers High Performance and Safety October 23rd, 2014

Removal of Limitations of Composites at Superheat Temperatures October 20th, 2014

1980s aircraft helps quantum technology take flight October 20th, 2014

Construction

7th Nanotechnology Festival, Exhibition Kicks Off Work in Iran October 7th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Obtain Nanostructured Steel Production Method September 25th, 2014

Nano Bonds Increase Raw Strength of Fireproof Concretes August 18th, 2014

Silicene Labs Announces the Launch of Patent-Pending, 2D Materials Composite Index™ : The Initial 2D Materials Composite Index™ for Q2 2014 Is: 857.3; Founders Include World-Renowned Physicist and Seasoned Business and IP Professionals July 24th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE