Diamond to Be in New Computers?


Recently, scientists have shown data transfer is possible using a diamond wire. Typically, data transfer is achieved by having electrons carry data through the wire in the form of a current, much like a river. In a diamond wire, the electrons do not flow through it, but electrons remain in their position and pass along a magnetic phenomenon named “spin” to other elections. That phenomenon may eventually be used to in computer circuits.

Ohio State University experimented with this and discovered diamond does a better job of transmitting spin than most other metals, only ones that also have spin. Scientists all over the world are working on “spintronics” where electronics, such as computers, use spin to transmit data. Spin has the potential to make computers even faster and more powerful than ever.

Diamond wire has benefits on its own, aside from spin. Chris Hammel, the lead investigator from Ohio State, assert that it is extremely durable since it is diamond, acts as an insulator, immune to outside contaminants, and most importantly, it’s temperature does not rise in the manner of superconductors. He also said it owes its properties to being an “inert,” stable, molecule. As a bonus, it is not as expensive as one would normally think, roughly $100. This is because it is not made of natural diamonds mined from the earth. The relatively low price will maintain computer prices if it is integrated into computer systems.

Because of the structure of diamond, all of its carbon and electrons are locked in place. The scientists added nitrogen atoms for free valence electrons to provide the spin. The final ratio of the wire is roughly three million diamond atoms to one nitrogen atom; the one lonely nitrogen atom is all that was needed.

Using a magnetic field from a microscope, scientists were able to watch the electron itself spin. They discovered the spin states endured much longer at the ends than in the center of the wire; they had expected the spin states to be of the same duration throughout the wire. in one experiment the spin in the middle of the wire was recorded to be 15 milliseconds, and the spin duration at the end was recorded to be twice that. In addition to that the initial view of spin is seen going in one direction. As the scientists move their view down the wire and closer to the center, the spin is seen to go in two directions, in and out of the wire.

The equipment used was extremely sophisticated, stronger than ones used in conventional experiments. The researchers wanted to know if and how much the spins in a diamond varies and how long a spin lasts. The spin in a diamond was never seen before this experiment. It proves a diamond is capable of sending spin in an “organized way, preserve spin state, and this information.”

Because of the speed of the spin, the wire had to be kept at 4.2 Kelvin, or -452 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to observe it. The cold temperatures were necessary to massively slow down the speed of the spins and to reduce the noise of their equipment. Once those conditions are met, it makes the conditions of observing spins much easier. Though it is difficult to observe, initial tests show that the diamond wiring can be used in new computers.

By Andy Diaz

Economic Times

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