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Scientists are excited about diamonds—not the types that adorn jewelry, but the microscopic variety that are less than the width of a human hair. These so-called "nanodiamonds" are made up almost entirely of carbon. But by introducing other elements into the nanodiamond's crystal lattice—a method known as "doping"—researchers could produce traits useful in medical research, computation and beyond.

In a paper published May 3 in Science Advances, researchers at the University of Washington, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced that they can use extremely and temperature to dope nanodiamonds. The team used this approach to dope nanodiamonds with silicon, causing the diamonds to glow a deep red—a property that would make them useful for cell and tissue imaging.

The team discovered that their method could also dope nanodiamonds with argon, a and nonreactive element related to helium found in balloons. Nanodiamonds doped with such elements could be applied to —a rapidly expanding field that includes quantum communication and quantum computing.

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Category: Science