Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diamonds, silver and the quest for single photons

Date:
October 18, 2011
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Building on earlier work showing how nanowires carved in impurity-laden diamond crystal can efficiently emit individual photons, researchers have developed a scalable manufacturing process to craft arrays of miniature, silver-plated-diamond posts that enable even greater photon control. The development supports efforts to create robust, room-temperature quantum computers by setting the stage for diamond-based microchips.

Imperfections (known as color centers) in diamond can give the crystals a characteristic color. Nitrogen in these tiny diamonds (top) turns them yellow. The chip consists of diamond with a layer of silver.
Credit: Photo by Eliza Grinnell / Harvard SEAS

Building on earlier work showing how nanowires carved in impurity-laden diamond crystal can efficiently emit individual photons, researchers have developed a scalable manufacturing process to craft arrays of miniature, silver-plated-diamond posts that enable even greater photon control.

Related Articles


The development supports efforts to create robust, room-temperature quantum computers by setting the stage for diamond-based microchips. Additionally, the technology could support new tools capable of measuring magnetic fields at the nanometer scale.

Appearing early online in Nature Photonics on Oct. 9, 2011, the research was led by electrical engineer Marko Lončar of Harvard University, his postdoctoral researcher, and his students.

"Luminescent imperfections in diamond, and nitrogen-vacancy color centers in particular, have recently emerged as a promising building block for realization of scalable, on-chip, quantum networks and sensitive magnetometers, owing to excellent 'memory' in a nitrogen vacancy's spin," says Lončar. "For these applications, ability to perform efficient and rapid read/write cycles using light is essential. In our previous work, we demonstrated that nanostructuring of diamond can significantly improve the efficiency of this process. Now, we demonstrate that nanostructures can also control the process speed."

The researchers implanted pure diamond crystals with nitrogen (which yields the necessary imperfections to enable diamonds to emit photons), etched arrays of parallel posts approximately 180 nanometers tall and 100 nanometers in diameter into the crystals, and coated the posts with a thin layer of silver. The fabrication procedure results in tens of thousands of devices for each iteration of the manufacturing process.

"Color centers in diamond arise from defects or atomic impurities in the crystal lattice, resulting in the luminescence we see in some bulk diamond crystals," adds co-author Jennifer Choy of Lončar's laboratory. "Certain color centers, including the nitrogen-vacancy center used in this work, are quantum emitters that release single photons, which are coupled to electronic (and nuclear) spin states and can be used to encode, store, communicate, and finally read-out information. Single photon emission in such systems is generally robust even at room temperature, which makes diamond-based devices enticing for the creation of an on-chip quantum network."

By studying both bare and coated diamond, the researchers recorded variations in photon emission that appear to be dependent upon not just the material coating, but also the size of each post. The resulting data suggest how various configurations could yield emitters tuned for specific purposes, such as high-speed computing, advanced imaging and secure communications.

The emitters in the new devices are implanted close to the diamond surface and possess electron spins with orientations that affect the fluorescence intensity of the emitter. Because the electron spins are sensitive to the ambient electromagnetic field environment, they have potential as sensitive, magnetic-field sensors, allowing researchers to collect information by monitoring the photon count rate.

"Demonstrating control over the rate at which photons are released is a challenging and important step towards utilizing these color centers in quantum information processing protocols, since it allows for information to be encoded and read-out more efficiently," adds Choy. "The diamond-silver device leads to rate enhancements in many emitters over the entire diamond chip in parallel and provides an efficient way to manipulate photon production rates on a large scale."

While much research remains before diamond can yield devices such as quantum computer chips or nanometer-scale magnetometers, the recent study provides engineers and scientists with a clearer understanding of fundamental photonics behavior that could potentially guide such technology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer T. Choy, Birgit J. M. Hausmann, Thomas M. Babinec, Irfan Bulu, Mughees Khan, Patrick Maletinsky, Amir Yacoby, Marko Lončar. Enhanced single-photon emission from a diamond–silver aperture. Nature Photonics, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2011.249

Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Diamonds, silver and the quest for single photons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018092348.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2011, October 18). Diamonds, silver and the quest for single photons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018092348.htm
National Science Foundation. "Diamonds, silver and the quest for single photons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018092348.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Progress in Quantum Computing: Researchers Control Rate of Photon Emission from Luminescent Imperfections in Diamond

Oct. 11, 2011 Engineers and physicists have managed to capture light in tiny diamond pillars embedded in silver, releasing a stream of single photons at a controllable rate. The advance represents a milestone on ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins