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CCNY researchers take snap shots of wandering electrons in diamonds

Carlos Meriles 2016 Nature-Comm
The formation of singular charge patterns upon localized laser excitation.

A breakthrough experiment by a City College of New York team led by physicist Carlos Meriles could potentially lead to room-temperature quantum information processing in diamonds and optical data storage in three dimensions.

Meriles and his researchers successfully demonstrated charge transport between Nitrogen-Vacancy color centers in diamonds. The team developed a novel multi-color scanning microscopy technique to visualize the charge transport.

The nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center is an optically active defect in diamonds comprising a nitrogen atom and an adjacent vacancy, replacing carbon atoms in the diamond lattice. This defect has electrons that are capable of storing quantum information. To utilize this special property for quantum computation, it is required to create a network of interacting NV centers. The research so far has focused on using photons emitted by the NV centers to create this interaction under a special low temperature environment.

The CCNY team, in collaboration with researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, is envisioning an electron-transport-based interaction that is realizable in ambient conditions.

“This is a unique way to visualize charge dynamics in diamond” said Harishankar Jayakumar, a postdoctoral fellow in the Meriles group and lead author of the study published today in the journal “Nature Communications.” 

Other key members of the CCNY team were Siddharth Dhomkar and physics graduate student Jacob Henshaw. ANU researchers Marcus Doherty and Neil Manson also contributed to the study supported by the National Science Foundation.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Science; Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; School of Education; Grove School of Engineering; Sophie Davis Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine; and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.

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