(CBROnline) Scientists have created a quantum sensor on a silicon chip; a milestone that may mark a path towards economically viable quantum sensors and computing hardware. Researchers at MIT have fabricated the sensors from a diamond base. Diamonds, a solid form of carbon, contain nitrogen-vacancy centres which can be affected by light and microwaves. When manipulated, these defects in the diamond emit coloured photons that can convey quantum information about magnetic and electric fields in their proximity.
Nitrogen-vacancy-based quantum sensors already exist, but they are the size of a table and cannot be practically integrated into devices. MIT has managed to scale down the system, which contains optical filters, photodetectors and a microwave generator, down to the millimetre-scale, via semiconductor fabrication techniques.