Home / Knowledge / News / Diamonds may be patient's best friends, Quantum Physicists
Diamonds may be patient's best friends, Quantum Physicists
24
Sep '09
Diamonds, it has long been said, are a girl's best friend. But a research team including a physicist from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently found that the gems might turn out to be a patient's best friend as well.

The team's work has the long-term goal of developing quantum computers, but it has borne fruit that may have more immediate application in medical science. Their finding that a candidate “quantum bit” has great sensitivity to magnetic fields hints that MRI-like devices that can probe individual drug molecules and living cells may be possible.

The candidate system, formed from a nitrogen atom lodged within a diamond crystal, is promising not only because it can sense atomic-scale variations in magnetism, but also because it functions at room temperature. Most other such devices used either in quantum computation or for magnetic sensing must be cooled to nearly absolute zero to operate, making it difficult to place them near live tissue. However, using the nitrogen as a sensor or switch could sidestep that limitation.

Diamond, which is formed of pure carbon, occasionally has minute imperfections within its crystalline lattice. A common impurity is a “nitrogen vacancy”, in which two carbon atoms are replaced by a single atom of nitrogen, leaving the other carbon atom's space vacant. Nitrogen vacancies are in part responsible for diamond's famed luster, for they are actually fluorescent: when green light strikes them, the nitrogen atom's two excitable unpaired electrons glow a brilliant red.

The team can use slight variations in this fluorescence to determine the magnetic spin of a single electron in the nitrogen. Spin is a quantum property that has a value of either “up” or “down,” and therefore could represent one or zero in binary computation. The team's recent achievement was to transfer this quantum information repeatedly between the nitrogen electron and the nuclei of adjacent carbon atoms, forming a small circuit capable of logic operations. Reading a quantum bit's spin information—a fundamental task for a quantum computer—has been a daunting challenge, but the team demonstrated that by transferring the information back and forth between the electron and the nuclei, the information could be amplified, making it much easier to read.

Still, NIST theoretical physicist Jacob Taylor said the findings are “evolutionary, not revolutionary” for the quantum computing field and that the medical world may reap practical benefits from the discovery long before a working quantum computer is built. He envisions diamond-tipped sensors performing magnetic resonance tests on individual cells within the body, or on single molecules drug companies want to investigate—a sort of MRI scanner for the microscopic. “That's commonly thought not to be possible because in both of these cases the magnetic fields are so small,” Taylor says. “But this technique has very low toxicity and can be done at room temperature. It could potentially look inside a single cell and allow us to visualize what's happening in different spots.”

The Harvard University-based team also includes scientists from the Joint Quantum Institute (a partnership of NIST and the University of Maryland), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University.

National Institute of Standards and Technology


Must ReadView All

India's garment exports up 24.93% in September 2017

Textiles | On 16th Oct 2017

India's garment exports up 24.93% in September 2017

The exports of readymade garments from India in September 2017 was...

Low GST rate on zari will generate jobs for women: SRTEPC

Textiles | On 16th Oct 2017

Low GST rate on zari will generate jobs for women: SRTEPC

There will be a rise in the employment for women with the slash in...

Consumers may suffer if no assurance to EU workers in UK

Apparel/Garments | On 16th Oct 2017

Consumers may suffer if no assurance to EU workers in UK

Consumers may suffer if the British Government does not quickly offer ...

Interviews View All

Giovanni Pizzamiglio, Paolo Crespi & Riccardo Robustelli
Epson, For.Tex & F.lli Robustelli

‘The percentage share of printing in the global textile market is pretty...

Top executives
Textile industry, India

Such fairs are a must for industry to showcase new innovations

Mandeep Nagi
Shades of India

Women value something that is unique and has a flavour of India

Ravindra Jain, Ashish Baid

Oswal Prints Private Limited has been manufacturing and exporting ethnic...

Abhishek Pachauri

Reckon Industries adapts latest systems for manufacturing from designing...

Rikesh Mistry

Jupiter Comtex Pvt Ltd, established in 1973, started its textile machinery ...

Giorgio Mantovani
Corman S.p.A

Giorgio Mantovani, MD of Corman, with a presence in both Milano and New...

Lynda Kelly
Suominen Corporation

Suominen Corporation is a manufacturer of nonwovens as roll goods for...

Marten Alkhagen
Swerea IVF AB

Marten Alkhagen, Senior Scientist - Nonwoven and Technical Textiles of...

Karan Arora
Karan Arora

Bridal couture created with rich Indian heritage, exquisite craftsmanship...

Sonam & Paras Modi
SVA

Sonam and Paras Modi's Sva Couture is synonymous with head-turning...

Pranav Mishra
Huemn

Designers Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty’s Huemn is known for its...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

October 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

news category


Related Categories:

Planning to Take the Leap towards
Sustainability?

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes No

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes
76.9%
No
13.8%
Skip
9.2%

Total Votes: 65

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes
61.5%
No
27.7%
Skip
10.8%

Total Votes: 65

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes
84.6%
No
10.8%
Skip
4.6%

Total Votes: 65

Thanks for your valuable feedback. Claim your free latest sustainability e-book.

Active Poll

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes
73.8%
No
12.3%
Skip
13.8%

Total Votes: 65


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search