The small radio whose building blocks are the size of two atoms can handle exceedingly harsh environments and is biocompatible, implying it could work anywhere from a probe on Venus to a pacemaker in the human heart.
The scientific group was headed by Marko Loncar, the Tiantsai Lin Lecturer of Electronic Engineering at SEAS and his graduate student Linbo Shao. The radio employs small imperfections in diamonds known as nitrogen vacancy or NV centres. To prepare NV centres, scientists replace single carbon atom in a diamond crystal with a nitrogen atom and eradicate a neighbouring atom – preparing a system that is essentially a nitrogen atom with a hole next to it. The NV centres can be utilized to release single photons or identify very weak magnetic fields. They possessphoto luminescent properties, implying they can transform information to light, creating them powerful and promising systems for quantum computing, sensing and photonics.
Radios have five basic elements – a receiver, a power source, a transducer to transform high – frequency electromagnetic light in the air to a low – frequency current, headphones or speaker for transforming current to sound and a tuner.
In the Harvard device, electrons present in diamond NV centres are pumped, and powered by green light released from a laser. Such electrons are sensitive to electromagnetic fields, comprising the waves utilized in FM radio, for instance. When NV centres receives radio waves it transforms them and releases the audio signals as red light. A regular photodiode transforms that light into a current that is then transformed to sound through a simple headphone or speaker.
An electromagnet device generates a powerful magnetic field around the diamond, which can be utilized to later the radio station, tuning the frequencies received from the NV centres. Loncar and Shao utilized billions of NV centres in order to augment the signal, but the radio functions with a singular NV centre releasing one photon at a time, rather than just a stream of light. The radio that has been ultimately designed and received is completely resilient and possesses core strength equal to diamond. The group successfully played music at 350 degrees Celsius and about 660 Fahrenheit.
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