Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Amplifier helps diamond spy on atoms

Date:
January 3, 2012
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
An 'amplifier' molecule placed on the tip of a diamond could help scientists locate and identify individual atoms, scientists believe.

An illustration of the proposed device.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Oxford

An 'amplifier' molecule placed on the tip of a diamond could help scientists locate and identify individual atoms, Oxford University and Singapore scientists believe.

Related Articles


The idea builds on ongoing work towards creating a diamond nanocrystal that can be used to detect an atom's incredibly weak magnetic field. Defects within the diamond hold electrons that act rather like a compass, lining up with even the very weak magnetic field emanating from the core of an atom.

Crucially this diamond compass can be 'read' by shining a pulse of laser light into the crystal giving information about the location and type of atom -- for instance telling the difference between a carbon and hydrogen atom and giving their exact location within a structure such as a virus or new material.

'The problem with this approach is that the 'compass' only behaves well if it is buried within the diamond: this makes it very difficult to get it close enough to a structure to detect an individual atom's magnetic field,' said Dr Simon Benjamin of Oxford University's Department of Materials and National University of Singapore. 'It's a bit like trying to grasp one particular marble out of a bucket of marbles whilst wearing an oven glove.

'The new research, which the team recently report in Physical Review Letters, calculates that by attaching another 'compass' -- the amplifier molecule -- to the tip of the diamond this will pass the information about an atom along to the compass inside the diamond that can then be read.

'Our calculations show for the first time how such an amplifier could be used to make a diamond probe sensitive enough to pinpoint and identify individual atomic cores,' said Dr Benjamin. 'If this can be made to work, the additional information we would gain would be rather like moving from black and white photographs of atoms to full colour.

'Dr Erik Gauger of Oxford University's Department of Materials and National University of Singapore, an author of the paper with Dr Benjamin, said: 'The device that we propose may well represent the limit of what is possible in terms of magnetic field sensitivity and resolution; if, as we hope, it allows direct identification of atoms by their core signatures, then it will be a revolutionary tool in chemistry, biology and medicine.'

The team believe that it may only be a couple of years before diamond probes are created that will reveal the world of the atom in unprecedented detail but that the small step of adding an amplifier could make such systems many times more powerful.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marcus Schaffry, Erik Gauger, John Morton, Simon Benjamin. Proposed Spin Amplification for Magnetic Sensors Employing Crystal Defects. Physical Review Letters, 2011; 107 (20) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.207210

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Amplifier helps diamond spy on atoms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220204454.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2012, January 3). Amplifier helps diamond spy on atoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220204454.htm
University of Oxford. "Amplifier helps diamond spy on atoms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220204454.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
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:

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