Storing Data on Diamonds

Research into new methods of storing data has been ongoing for several decades covering many different techniques. The use of diamonds was first mooted a few years back, allowing data bits to be stored in a 3D structure.

The principle uses flaws in the crystal lattice structure of diamonds, with a missing carbon atom next to a rogue nitrogen atom, the pair called a Nitrogen Vacancy (NV) centre. The NV centres can be exploited, as it can be detected and altered using lasers.

The crystals can be industrially manufactured to contain a set of flaws. A green laser can be used to inject an electron into the NV centre, which a lower power red laser can be used to determine the presence or absence of the electron. At a higher power level the red laser can be used to eject the electron from the NV centre.

Such diamonds have the possibility of storing the information almost indefinitely. Current experiments demonstrate that such a device can store data at a density over 100 times more than a DVD. To make the technology commercially viable it is important to improve the storage density even further.

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