Diamonds could help make computers faster and more powerful
Researchers have conducted experiment to find the potential of diamond's potential in computing.
Researchers worldwide are working to develop so-called "spintronics," which could make computers simultaneously faster and more powerful.
Lead investigator Chris Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Experimental Physics at Ohio State, said that diamond's hard, transparent, electrically insulating, impervious to environmental contamination, resistant to acids, and doesn't hold heat as semiconductors do, asserting that the precious gem is inert.
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.
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 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.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
(Posted on 25-03-2014)
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