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Nanodiamond arrays are an important technology for quantum computing. Now an international team has used biological self-assembly to build them.

One of the most promising ways to capture, generate and manipulate photons is with tiny diamonds. The secret is to create nanodiamonds with a defect in their structure where a nitrogen atom has taken the place of a carbon.

Quantum physicists are particularly interested in these so-called nitrogen vacancies because they can capture, store and emit the quantum information that photons carry.  What’s more, they do all this at room temperature. It is even possible to manipulate this information using magnetic and electric fields.

In short, nitrogen vacancies are important building blocks for for quantum computers.

But there’s a problem. It’s not hard to make individual nanodiamonds but it is extremely difficult to arrange them next to each other so that the quantum information they store can be processed.

For this to happen, the nitrogen vacancies have to be just a few nanometres apart, much further than conventional manufacturing techniques can manage.

That looks set to change. Today, Andreas Albrecht at Ulm University in Germany and a number of buddies say they’ve demonstrated a way to solve this problem.

Their idea is to bind nanodiamonds together with the required nanometre precision using biological molecules such as DNA and protein. What’s more, they say they’ve demonstrated the technique for the first time.

To read more, click here.
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