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Could Diamonds Be a Computer’s Best Friend?

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Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Researchers at Ohio State University say they have demonstrated how information can flow through a diamond wire.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Ohio State University researchers have demonstrated that information can flow through a diamond wire, a finding that could lead to the material's use in computing.

The researchers found that the electrons stay in place and pass their spin to each other down the wire. Spin could one day be used to transmit data in computer circuits, and the researchers have shown that diamonds transmit spin better than most metals. They say their findings represent a small step toward the development of diamond transistors.

Diamond normally could not carry spin at all because its carbon atoms are locked together. However, the researchers seeded the wire with nitrogen atoms to create unpaired electrons that could spin. The wire contained one nitrogen atom for every 3 million diamond atoms, but that was enough to allow the wire to carry spin.

The experiment worked because the researchers were able to observe electron spin on a smaller scale than ever before, focusing the microscope on individual portions of the wire. The researchers knew spin was flowing through the diamond when a magnet on a cantilever moved small amounts as it was alternatively attracted or repelled by the atoms in the wire, depending on their spin states.

From OSU News
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