World’s Smallest Radio Created Out Of Atomic-Scale Defects In Diamonds

Posted: Dec 19 2016, 5:12am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

World’s Smallest Radio Created out of Atomic-Scale Defects in Diamonds
This tiny radio — whose building blocks are the size of two atoms — can withstand extremely harsh environments and is biocompatible, meaning it could work anywhere from a probe on Venus to a pacemaker in a human heart. Image courtesy of Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Tiniest Radio on the Face of the Planet has Nanotechnological Components
 

The tiniest radio on the face of the planet has nanotechnological components. Its units are as small as two atoms each.

The experts have manufactured the world’s smallest radio. The constituents are atomic-sized defects in pink diamonds. This miniature radio has components the size of two atoms.

It can survive very difficult environments and is bioocompatible to boot. What this means is that it can function from anywhere, be it a mission on Venus to a device implanted close to the human heart. 

This radio employs tiny flaws in pink diamonds. These are called nitrogen vacancy (NV) centers. To create these, scientists substitute a carbon atom in a diamond crystal with a nitrogen atom.

They also remove an atom on the side of this thereby creating a nitrogen atom with a hole next to it. These NV centers can be utilized to release single photons or light particles.

Or they can espy extremely weak magnetic force fields. They also have photoluminiscent features meaning that they can easily convert data into light. This has further applications in the fields of computers, photonics and sensing. 

Ordinary radios have five components: a power source, a receiver, a transducer, a speaker and a tuner. The transducer in particular converts the high frequency electromagnetic signal into low frequency current.

In the nanotechnological device built, the electrons in the diamond NV centers are fueled by green laser light. These electrons are susceptible to electromagnetic fields.

An example of these electromagnetic fields would be waves in an FM radio. NV centers take in the radio waves and turns them into an audio signal in the form of red light. A photodiode converts the light into an electrical current. This in turn is converted to sound by a speaker and headphone.    

An electromagnet is used to create a powerful magnetic field around the diamond. This then changes the radio stations. Billions of NV centers were used to boost the signal.

Yet this radio used just one NV center. It is very tough and hardy thanks to the strength of the diamond. Music played on the radio at 350 degrees Celsius. Diamonds tend to have a unique features.

This radio made from diamonds would be able to fully function in space, formidable environments and even inside the marvel that is the human body.

The research was led by Marko Loncar, the Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering at SEAS, and his graduate student Linbo Shao and published in Physical Review Applied.

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