Physicists at Ohio State University have successfully sent an electron “down” a wire made of diamond. Researchers claim that this could one day lead to diamond transistors.
The physicists were able to pass a magnetic spin effect down the wire “like a row of sports spectators doing ‘the wave.’" Spin has long been seen as the solution to passing data via quantum computers and the researchers found that diamond transmitted the signals better than metal.
The diamond wire was made of synthetic and cost approximately $100. To make it carry the spin, they doctored the diamond with nitrogen – one atom of the gas per three million diamond atoms – which allowed it to “spread out” and carry the dynamic information. The researchers chilled the wire to -452 degrees farenhieght to get it to carry the data.
“The Diamond wires are hard, transparent, electrically insulating, impervious to environmental contamination, resistant to acids, and doesn't hold heat as semiconductors do,” said Chris Hammel, Lead Investigator .
“If this wire were part of a computer, it would transfer information. There’s no question that you’d be able to tell at the far end of the wire what the spin state of the original particle was at the beginning,” lead investigator Chris Hammel said in a release.
Researchers stated that the experiment worked because they were able to observe electron spin on a smaller scale than ever before. The physicists focused the magnetic field in their microscope on small pieces of the wire, and found that they could identify when spin passed through those portions. The wire measured only four micrometers long and 200 nano meters wide. Hammel's team placed a small diamond wire in a magnetic resonance force microscope and identified that the spin states inside the wire altered according to a pattern.
"It’s a dramatically huge effect that we were not anticipating,” Hammel said. He added that the discovery challenges the way researchers have studied spin for the last 70 years.