"We've used well-known techniques to create atomic-size defects in otherwise perfect diamonds," said David Awschalom, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara and co-author of a new article in the journal ACS Nano Letters.
A supercomputer based on quantum mechanics requires more precision than nature can provide, so scientists have searched for a way to artificially implant arrays of precisely patterned nitrogen holes inside sheets of diamond.
Scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, along with colleagues from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, created such an array by using an ion beam to first knock out two carbon atoms, and then replace them with one nitrogen atom. In one second, the scientists could inject about 4,000 glowing nitrogen atoms. In about one minute, the scientists had patterned several inches of flat diamond.
The scientists didn't use any overly complicated techniques to accomplish this. "You can buy it online, send it to another company for the patterning, and then explore it yourself," said Awschalom, whose students did exactly that to demonstrate the ease of the technology.