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Diamonds, silver and the quest for single photons
Date:10/18/2011

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. 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-aut
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Contact: Josh Chamot
jchamot@nsf.gov
703-292-7730
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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