Navigation Links
Diamond 'flaws' pave way for nanoscale MRI

By exploiting flaws in miniscule diamond fragments, researchers say they have achieved enough coherence of the magnetic moment inherent in these defects to harness their potential for precise quantum sensors in a material that is 'biocompatible'.

Nanoscopic thermal and magnetic field detectors - which can be inserted into living cells - could enhance our understanding of everything from chemical reactions within single cells to signalling in neural networks and the origin of magnetism in novel materials.

Atomic impurities in natural diamond structure give rise to the colour seen in rare and coveted pink, blue and yellow diamond. But these impurities are also a major research focus in emerging areas of quantum physics.

One such defect, the Nitrogen-vacancy Centre (NVC), consists of a gap in the crystal lattice next to a nitrogen atom. This system tightly traps electrons whose spin states can be manipulated with extreme precision.

Electron coherence - the extent to which the spins of these particles can sustain their quantum mechanical properties - has been achieved to high levels in the NVCs of large 'bulk' diamonds, with coherence times of an entire second in certain conditions - the longest yet seen in any solid material.

However in nanodiamonds - nanometer sized crystals that can be produced by milling conventional diamond - any acceptable degree of coherence has, until now, proved elusive.

Nanodiamonds offer the potential for both extraordinarily precise resolution, as they can be positioned at the nano-scale, and biocompatibility - as they have can be inserted into living cells. But without high levels of coherence in their NVCs to carry information, these unique nanodiamond benefits cannot be utilised.

By observing the spin dynamics in nanodiamond NVCs, researchers at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, have now identified that it is the concentration of nitrogen impurities that impacts coherence rather than interactions with spins on the crystal surface.

By controlling the dynamics of these nitrogen impurities separately, they have increased NVC coherence times to a record 0.07 milliseconds longer than any previous report, an order of significant magnitude - putting nanodiamonds back in play as an extremely promising material for quantum sensing.

The results are published today in the journal Nature Materials.

"Our results unleash the potential of the smallest magnetic field and temperature detector in the world. Nanodiamond NVCs can sense the change of such features within a few tens of nanometres - no other sensor has ever had this spatial resolution under ambient conditions," said Helena Knowles, a researcher on the study.

"We now have both high spin coherence and spatial resolution, crucial for various quantum technologies."

Dr Dhiren Kara, who also worked on the study, points out that the nanodiamond's biocompatibility can provide non-invasive optical access to magnetic changes within a living cell - essentially the ability to perform MRI and detect, for instance, a cell's reaction to a drug in real time.

"We may also be able to answer some key questions in material science, such as magnetic ordering at the edges of graphene or the origin of magnetism in oxide materials," Kara said.

Dr Mete Atature, director of the research, added: "The pursuit of simultaneous high NVC coherence and high spatial resolution, and the fact that nanodiamonds couldn't deliver on this promise until now, has required researchers to invest in alternative means including advanced nanofabrication techniques, which tends to be both expensive and low-yield."

"The simplest solution - feasible and inexpensive - was in front of us the whole time."


Contact: Dr. Mete Atature
University of Cambridge

Related biology news :

1. Polycrystalline diamond drill bits open up options for geothermal energy
2. Synthetic diamond steps closer to next generation of high performance electrochemical applications
3. The genome of diamondback moth provides new clues for sustainable pest management
4. Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for obesity research expert
5. Diamond sheds light on basic building blocks of life
6. Color in fossil insects, diamonds from the ancient ocean floor and modeling the worlds largest rivers
7. UCLA researchers find nanodiamonds could improve effectiveness of breast cancer treatment
8. Diamond catalyst shows promise in breaching age-old barrier
9. Diamond Vision Announces New and Generous Promotion on its iLASIK in NYC Procedure
10. CWRU makes nanodiamonds in ambient conditions
11. Researchers discover 2 genetic flaws behind common form of inherited muscular dystrophy
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Diamond 'flaws' pave way for nanoscale MRI
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... interface solutions, today announced expansion of its TDDI ... touch controller and display driver integration (TDDI) ... smartphones. These new TDDI products add to the ... resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... 2015  In this report, the biomarkers ... product, type, application, disease indication, and geography. ... are consumables, services, software. The type segments ... efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The applications ... development, drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... MENLO PARK, Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... to $9 million to provide preclinical development services to ... Under the contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern ... a wide variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies ... --> --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Studies reveal the differences ... and pave the way for more effective treatment for one ...   --> --> ... problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood about the ... have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, ... Kevin Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, ... Healthcare Conference in New York . ... to visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to ... A replay of the presentation will be available on ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... IN (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... (AMA) and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with ... and other AMA team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 The Global Genomics ... professional and in-depth study on the current state ... ) , The report ... definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The ... markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: