German researchers have successfully developed a quantum sensor for the size of nitrogen atoms
Quantum technology has opened up a new way for the miniaturization of electronic components. Recently, Fraunhof, Institute of applied solid physics (IAF) and Max P solid Research Institute announced that their researchers have developed a quantum sensor, which can be used to measure micro magnetic fields, such as hard disk magnetic field and human brain wave.
The integrated circuit is more and more complex, currently a Pentium processor can accommodate about 30 million transistors, the magnetic structure of hard disk can be identified by only 10 to 20 nm, is smaller than the diameter of 80 to 120 nm of the influenza virus, the size of the magnitude of the only quantum physics technology can be touched. The newly developed quantum sensors can accurately measure the tiny magnetic fields used on the future hard disk. The new quantum sensor is only the size of the nitrogen atom, which is a kind of artificial diamond as the carrier material. Diamond has good mechanical and chemical stability and super thermal conductivity. It can be made into semiconductors by introducing foreign atoms such as boron and phosphorus, and it is very suitable for optical circuits.
In the last few decades, IAF researchers have developed and optimized the equipment used to produce diamond, a special type of oval plasma reactor mold. In the high temperature of 800-900 degrees Celsius, the diamond substrate from the import of methane gas and hydrogen can grow in the diamond layer, then the side of 3-8mm crystal substrate from peeling and polishing, finally producing ultra pure diamond crystals with quantum physics applications, containing only carbon stable isotope C12. The methane gas is purified by a zirconium filter, and the hydrogen is purified by other means.
There are two ways for researchers to make a magnetic field detector: direct implantation of a single nitrogen atom or nitrogen in the last step of making diamond. After that, a fine diamond tip similar to the atomic force microscope can be produced by the oxygen plasma etching in the ultra clean room. The key point is the nitrogen atoms introduced and the adjacent vacancies in the lattice. The nitrogen Space Center is the actual sensor, which is illuminated by laser and microwave irradiation, and the intensity of the emitted light varies with the intensity of the nearby magnetic field. Experts have compared this innovation with the optical detection of magnetic resonance (ODMR).
The sensor can not only detect the magnetic field of nanoscale accurately, but also determine its strength, and the potential of application is astonishing. For example, the hard disk can monitor the quality, detect the small errors in the data intensive storage and found defective data fragments, in writing and reading before its removal. Therefore, the waste of rapid increase with the acceleration of miniaturization can be reduced, and the cost of production can be reduced. IAF experts say the quantum sensor can also be used to measure many weak magnetic fields, including brain waves. Compared with the current brain wave sensors, it is not only more accurate but also available at room temperature without the need for liquid nitrogen cooling.