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Diamonds Imperfections Push the Boundaries of Futuristic Devices

Defects in diamonds offer an opportunity to push the boundaries of futuristic devices
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New research conducted in the Department of Physics at University of California San Diego reveals that  defects in diamonds offer “a new opportunity to push the boundaries of futuristic devices that could become the backbone of tomorrow’s computers”, according to a press release by UC San Diego.


Assistant Professor Chunhui Rita Du at UC San Diego Department of Physics Assistant has led her group of researchers to leverage the red, yellow and blue colors that result from diamond defects to develop sensors that can evaluate the properties of specialized materials down to the nanometer level. 


polished diamonds loupe
Credit: EgolenaHK /


According to UC San Diego, precision at such an ultra-miniscule scale “is required to investigate materials needed for a new era of computing and storage since today’s devices are rapidly approaching their capacity limits”. 


Du added: “The key question is whether we can develop devices that consume much less power,” said Du. “With the tools in my lab we can use diamond nanostructures and their red color centers as very sensitive sensors to measure the electrical behavior of these new nanoscale materials. We can also measure temperature by positioning the diamond sensor very close to the materials and use the change of the diamond lattice constant in response to thermal variation”.


polished diamond loupe
Credit: EgolenaHK /


Du also said that these quantum materials are highly controllable, and her diamond sensors could become an important guiding tool to optimize their properties.


“The diamond sensor has clear applications in material science studies,” said Du. “In principle, we could apply the same technique to biology—to measure the temperature of a living cell, for example—or chemistry to investigate chemical reactions”.


Surprisingly, the defects are the physicist’s best friend.


Read the full press release here


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