Researchers worldwide are working to develop so-called ‘spintronics’ to begin a new information processing era.
“Diamond has a lot going for it when it comes to spintronics,” said lead investigator Chris Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar in experimental physics at Ohio State University.
It is hard, transparent, electrically insulating, impervious to environmental contamination, resistant to acids and does not hold heat as semiconductors do.
In the experiment, electrons did not flow through diamond as they do in traditional electronics.
Rather, they stayed in place and passed along a magnetic effect called ‘spin’ to each other down the wire – like a row of sports spectators doing ‘the wave’.
“Basically, it is inert. You cannot do anything to it. To a scientist, diamonds are kind of boring, unless you are getting engaged. But it is interesting to think about how diamond would work in a computer,” Hammel added.
This discovery could change the way researchers study spin.
“The fact that spins can move like this means that the conventional way that the world measures spin dynamics on the macroscopic level has to be reconsidered – it is actually not valid,” he noted.
Nobody could see the spins in diamond before, but this experiment proved that diamond can transport spin in an organised way, preserving spin state – and, thus, preserving information.
The finding appeared in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.