Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Could Diamonds Be A Computer’s Best Friend? Landmark experiment reveals the precious gem’s potential in computing

Chris Hammel
Chris Hammel

Abstract:
For the first time, physicists have demonstrated that information can flow through a diamond wire.

Could Diamonds Be A Computer’s Best Friend? Landmark experiment reveals the precious gem’s potential in computing

Columbus, OH | Posted on March 24th, 2014

In the experiment, electrons did not flow through diamond as they do in traditional electronics; rather, they stayed in place and passed along a magnetic effect called "spin" to each other down the wire—like a row of sports spectators doing "the wave."

Spin could one day be used to transmit data in computer circuits—and this new experiment, done at The Ohio State University, revealed that diamond transmits spin better than most metals in which researchers have previously observed the effect.

Researchers worldwide are working to develop so-called "spintronics," which could make computers simultaneously faster and more powerful.

Diamond has a lot going for it when it comes to spintronics, said lead investigator Chris Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Experimental Physics at Ohio State. It's hard, transparent, electrically insulating, impervious to environmental contamination, resistant to acids, and doesn't hold heat as semiconductors do.

"Basically, it's inert. You can't do anything to it. To a scientist, diamonds are kind of boring, unless you're getting engaged," Hammel said. "But it's interesting to think about how diamond would work in a computer."

The price tag for the diamond wire didn't reach engagement ring proportions, Hammel confirmed. It cost a mere $100, since it was made of synthetic, rather than natural, diamond.

The findings here represent the first very small step along a very long road that could one day lead to diamond transistors.

But beyond that, this discovery could change the way researchers study spin, Hammel said.

The finding appears in the March 23 issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Electrons attain different spin states according to the direction in which they're spinning—up or down. Hammel's team placed a tiny diamond wire in a magnetic resonance force microscope and detected that the spin states inside the wire varied according to a pattern.

"If this wire were part of a computer, it would transfer information. There's no question that you'd be able to tell at the far end of the wire what the spin state of the original particle was at the beginning," he said.

Normally, diamond couldn't carry spin at all, because its carbon atoms are locked together, with each electron firmly attached to a neighboring electron. The researchers had to seed the wire with nitrogen atoms in order for there to be unpaired electrons that could spin. The wire contained just one nitrogen atom for every three million diamond atoms, but that was enough to enable the wire to carry spin.

The experiment worked because the Ohio State physicists were able to observe electron spin on a smaller scale than ever before. They focused the magnetic field in their microscope on individual portions of the wire, and found that they could detect when spin passed through those portions.

The wire measured only four micrometers long and 200 nanometers wide. In order to see inside it, they set the magnetic coil in the microscope to switch on and off over tiny fractions of a second, generating pulses that created 15-nanometer (about 50-atoms) wide snapshots of electron behavior. They knew that spin was flowing through the diamond when a magnet on a delicate cantilever moved minute amounts as it was alternatively attracted or repelled by the atoms in the wire, depending on their spin states.

Even more surprising was that the spin states lasted twice as long near the end of the wire than in the middle. Based on ordinary experiments, the physicists would expect spin states to last for the same length of time, regardless of where the measurement was made. In this case, spin states inside the wire lasted for about 15 milliseconds, and near the end they lasted for 30 milliseconds.

Hammel's team suspects that they were able to witness this new effect in part because of how closely they were able to zoom in on the wire. As they focused their tiny window of observation on the tip of the wire, they witnessed spin flowing in the only direction it could flow: into the wire. When they panned along the wire to observe the middle, the "window" emptied of spin twice as fast, because the spin states could flow in both directions—into and out of the wire.

"It's a dramatically huge effect that we were not anticipating," Hammel said.

The discovery challenges the way researchers have studied spin for the last 70 years, Hammel explained.

"The fact that spins can move like this means that the conventional way that the world measures spin dynamics on the macroscopic level has to be reconsidered—it's actually not valid," he added.

Conventional experiments don't have the fine resolution to look inside objects as small as the wire used in this study, and so can only look at such objects as a whole. Under those circumstances, researchers can only detect the average spin state: how many electrons in the sample are pointing up, and how many are pointing down. Researchers wouldn't know the difference if a few electrons in one part of the sample flipped from down to up, and another part flipped from up to down, because the average number of spins would remain the same.

"It's not the average we want," Hammel said. "We want to know how much the spins vary, and what is the lifetime of any particular spin state."

It's the difference between knowing that an average of one quarter of all spectators in a stadium are standing at any one time, and knowing that individual people are standing and sitting in a pattern timed to form "the wave."

Nobody could see the spins in diamond before, but this experiment proved that diamond can transport spin in an organized way, preserving spin state—and, thus, preserving information.

The physicists had to chill the wire to 4.2 Kelvin (about -452 degrees Fahrenheit or -269 degrees Celsius) to slow down the spins and to quiet their sensitive detector enough to make these few spins detectable. Many advances would have to be made before the effect could be exploited at room temperature.
###

Coauthors on the paper included doctoral students Jeremy Cardellino, Nicolas Scozzaro, Andrew J. Berger, and Chi Zhang; former doctoral student Michael Herman (now at Johns Hopkins University); former postdoctoral researcher Kin Chung Fong (now at Caltech), Ciriyam Jayaprakash, professor of physics; and Denis V. Pelekhov, director of Ohio State's NanoSystems Laboratory. Hammel directs the university's University's Center for Emergent Materials, a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center funded by the National Science Foundation.

This work was funded by the Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation, the Center for Emergent Materials, and the NanoSystems Laboratory.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Written by:
Pam Frost Gorder

614-292-9475

P. Chris Hammel
(614) 247-6928

Copyright © Ohio State University

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 News Press

News and information

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Candy cane supercapacitor could enable fast charging of mobile phones August 17th, 2017

Physics

Sensing technology takes a quantum leap with RIT photonics research: Office of Naval Research funds levitated optomechanics project August 10th, 2017

'Perfect Liquid' Quark-Gluon Plasma is the Most Vortical Fluid: Swirling soup of matter's fundamental building blocks spins ten billion trillion times faster than the most powerful tornado, setting new record for "vorticity" August 4th, 2017

The first light atomic nucleus with a second face July 20th, 2017

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions June 28th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Engineers pioneer platinum shell formation process – and achieve first-ever observation August 11th, 2017

Spintronics

Smart multi-layered magnetic material acts as an electric switch: New study reveals characteristic of islands of magnetic metals between vacuum gaps, displaying tunnelling electric current March 1st, 2017

First experimental proof of a 70 year old physics theory: First observation of magnetic phase transition in 2-D materials, as predicted by the Nobel winner Onsager in 1943 January 6th, 2017

Investigations of the skyrmion Hall effect reveal surprising results: One step further towards the application of skyrmions in spintronic devices December 28th, 2016

Electron highway inside crystal December 12th, 2016

Chip Technology

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Surprise discovery in the search for energy efficient information storage August 10th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Demonstrates 2.5D High-Bandwidth Memory Solution for Data Center, Networking, and Cloud Applications: Solution leverages 2.5D packaging with low-latency, high-bandwidth memory PHY built on FX-14™ ASIC design system August 9th, 2017

Quantum Computing

Sensing technology takes a quantum leap with RIT photonics research: Office of Naval Research funds levitated optomechanics project August 10th, 2017

Clarifiying complex chemical processes with quantum computers August 3rd, 2017

Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing: New approach yields long-lasting configurations that could provide long-sought “qubit” material July 27th, 2017

Into the quantum world with a tennis racket: Classical mechanics helps control quantum computers July 6th, 2017

Discoveries

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Candy cane supercapacitor could enable fast charging of mobile phones August 17th, 2017

Announcements

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Candy cane supercapacitor could enable fast charging of mobile phones August 17th, 2017

Military

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Moving at the Speed of Light: University of Arizona selected for high-impact, industrial demonstration of new integrated photonic cryogenic datalink for focal plane arrays: Program is major milestone for AIM Photonics August 10th, 2017

Sensing technology takes a quantum leap with RIT photonics research: Office of Naval Research funds levitated optomechanics project August 10th, 2017

Quantum nanoscience

Sensing technology takes a quantum leap with RIT photonics research: Office of Naval Research funds levitated optomechanics project August 10th, 2017

Nanocrystalline LEDs: Red, green, yellow, blue ... August 7th, 2017

Scientists discover new magnet with nearly massless charge carriers July 29th, 2017

Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing: New approach yields long-lasting configurations that could provide long-sought “qubit” material July 27th, 2017

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