Harwell based Element Six launches new grade of diamond for quantum technology applications

Element Six, based on Harwell Campus and part of the De Beers Group, has launched DNV-B14™, its newest general-purpose chemical vapour deposition (CVD) quantum-grade diamond, an ideal material for quantum technologies such as magnetic field devices, RF sensors, solid-state gyroscopes and room temperature masers.

DNV-B14™ is designed to provide the end-user with a uniform and high density of NV spin centres – more than a 10-fold increase in NV density compared to DNV-B1™. DNV-B1™ was Element Six’s first material in the DNV™ Series, launched last year and winner of the SPIE Prism Award in the Quantum category in March 2021. Together, these two grades of material provide quantum technologists with a choice depending on their device architecture, with DNV-B14™ containing an increased number of NV centres compared to DNV-B1™.

The latest solution in Element Six’s DNV™ Series, DNV-B14™ expands the company’s range of advanced materials for emerging quantum technologies. Diamond containing nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centres offers researchers a unique solid-state platform with spin qubits that can be initialised and read out at room temperature, with long qubit lifetimes. These properties stem from diamond’s unique structure and strong bonds.

The combination of its engineered properties makes DNV-B14™ an ideal solution for experimentation and development of a range of technologies, such as ensemble NV-based vector magnetometry and room-temperature masers.

Dr Matthew Markham, Principal Scientist at Element Six, said: “I am excited that we are adding this new material to the DNV™ Series. This will enable increased flexibility for technologists developing new diamond quantum systems and accelerate the adoption of this disruptive technology”.

Element Six diamond with NV densities comparable to DNV-B14™ has already been utilised in the development of high-sensitivity fibre-coupled magnetometers. Without the need for cumbersome cooling equipment, such devices can be made compact, and even portable. They are the ideal enabler of medical diagnostic techniques such as magnetocardiography (MCG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Dr Daniel Twitchen, Chief Technologist, commented: “Element Six’s founder, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer said no great industry can exist or develop without fundamental research. The DNV™ Series represents exactly that, with sustained R&D within our CVD team spanning over ten years and working across an eco-system that includes large companies, start-ups and some of the world’s leading Universities”.

Element Six’s engineered diamond research has already accelerated the delivery of many breakthroughs in quantum research, including in 2018, when Imperial College London utilised engineered single crystal material in the development of the world’s first continuous-wave, room-temperature, solid-state maser (the microwave equivalent of a laser). Lockheed Martin’s 2019 Dark Ice program also relies on a magnetometer built around DNV™ Series quantum diamond that measures the direction and strength of nearly imperceptible magnetic field anomalies, opening up new possibilities in GPS-denied navigation.