Nanotechnology Now





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 (-280şF), 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

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Pioneering Southampton scientist awarded prestigious physics medal July 3rd, 2015

Superconductivity

Making new materials with micro-explosions: ANU media release: Scientists have made exotic new materials by creating laser-induced micro-explosions in silicon, the common computer chip material June 29th, 2015

Helium 'balloons' offer new path to control complex materials June 27th, 2015

Fabricating inexpensive, high-temp SQUIDs for future electronic devices June 22nd, 2015

Discovery paves way for new kinds of superconducting electronics June 22nd, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New technology using silver may hold key to electronics advances July 2nd, 2015

NIST Group Maps Distribution of Carbon Nanotubes in Composite Materials July 2nd, 2015

Influential Interfaces Lead to Advances in Organic Spintronics July 1st, 2015

NIST ‘How-To’ Website Documents Procedures for Nano-EHS Research and Testing July 1st, 2015

Quantum Computing

The quantum middle man July 2nd, 2015

Freezing single atoms to absolute zero with microwaves brings quantum technology closer: Atoms frozen to absolute zero using microwaves July 2nd, 2015

Producing spin-entangled electrons July 2nd, 2015

Opening a new route to photonics Berkeley lab researchers find way to control light in densely packed nanowaveguides June 27th, 2015

Sensors

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

New micro-supercapacitor structure inspired by the intricate design of leaves: A team of scientists in Korea has devised a new method for making a graphene film for supercapacitors July 2nd, 2015

Carnegie Mellon chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels: Methods will allow researchers to develop new 'smart' materials June 30th, 2015

Discoveries

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

Pioneering Southampton scientist awarded prestigious physics medal July 3rd, 2015

New technology using silver may hold key to electronics advances July 2nd, 2015

NIST Group Maps Distribution of Carbon Nanotubes in Composite Materials July 2nd, 2015

Proposed TSCA Nanomaterial Rule ‘Premature’, Says Former EPA Toxicologist July 1st, 2015

Announcements

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Pioneering Southampton scientist awarded prestigious physics medal July 3rd, 2015

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

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Pioneering Southampton scientist awarded prestigious physics medal July 3rd, 2015

Tools

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Nanometrics to Announce Second Quarter Financial Results on July 23, 2015 July 2nd, 2015

NIST ‘How-To’ Website Documents Procedures for Nano-EHS Research and Testing July 1st, 2015

Homeland Security

Iranian Scientists Design Nano Device to Detect Cyanogen Toxic Gas June 23rd, 2015

New sensing tech could help detect diseases, fraudulent art, chemical weapons June 1st, 2015

UCLA nanoscientists are first to model atomic structures of three bacterial nanomachines: Cryo electron microscope enables scientists to explore the frontiers of targeted antibiotics April 21st, 2015

Optics, nanotechnology combined to create low-cost sensor for gases April 3rd, 2015

Aerospace/Space

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Discovery paves way for new kinds of superconducting electronics June 22nd, 2015

Deben reports on how the University of Portsmouth use in situ µXCT compressive testing to help answer how materials respond to complex loading conditions June 17th, 2015

Slip sliding away: Graphene and diamonds prove a slippery combination June 10th, 2015

Construction

Research findings point way to designing crack-resistant metals June 24th, 2015

Solar cells in the roof and nanotechnology in the walls June 16th, 2015

Production of Nanocomposites by Using Direct Nano-Welding of Micromaterials in Iran June 4th, 2015

Environmental Issues to Hamper Growth of Global Nanocomposites Market June 4th, 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