One of the most promising new quantum technologies is based on the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in synthetic diamond. The NV center consists of a nitrogen atom in place of a carbon atom in the strong diamond lattice, with a neighboring gap (the “vacancy”). The NV center acts like a little atom held tightly in the diamond lattice, whose properties can readout optically. The quantum states of the NV can be used to sense electromagnetic fields and to store information – in the individual electron spins.
Unlike most quantum devices, NV technology can work in ordinary room conditions – not at cryogenic temperatures or in extreme vacuum. The NV centers can also be grown or implanted into commercially available synthetic diamond crystals using standard semiconductor manufacturing techniques such as chemical vapor deposition.
NV technology has been used to create extremely sensitive sensors for magnetic and electric fields, as well as temperature sensors. Several of the founders of QDTI have also demonstrated the first quantum information bit (or “qubit”) that can operate at room temperature.
Currently, the sensing applications of NV technology are closer to commercial application, and these are the current core focus at QDTI.
Unlike many quantum sensors, diamond NV devices can work at room temperature, making more applications practical