August 9th, 2018 | Company News

NV diamonds lead to a break-through in maser development

Recently published research by the Maser Group at Imperial College London, University College London and lead author Dr Jonathan Breeze have highlighted continuous wave masers using diamond nitrogen vacancy (NV) centres. The work was featured in Nature and became the front cover article for the March 2018 issue. The maser, an acronym for “microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”, required the use of Laser Quantum’s finesse pure 532 nm Nd:YAG laser for optical pumping. It was used to excite the NV centres, one of the key requirements for the maser action. In 2012, the Imperial team demonstrated that a maser could operate at room temperature using the organic molecule pentacene. This was only operable for short bursts of time, although had it been continuous, it likely would have melted the crystal. The diamond, which had carbon atoms ‘knocked-out’ was then heated up. This enabled nitrogen atoms and carbon vacancies to pair up and was the centre-piece to the development. This is the first time a maser that can work continuously at room temperature has been demonstrated. The research group expect that masers could be used in many applications including medical imaging, and airport security scanning, and potentially in a key role to improve sensors used to remote-detect bombs.


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