Scientists funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research have used a single photon technique to observe the evolution of individual electron spins in semiconductor nanostructures.

Dr. David Awschalom, professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is coordinating the research. He and his team are exploring the benefits of electronic devices using spintronics to power quantum computers made of diamond.

"This technology may allow the Air Force to reduce electronic power consumption by creating low-power electronic devices capable of massive improvements in processing speeds, and increasing storage densities by orders of magnitude" Doctor Awschalom said.

Researchers have found that diamond is an electrical insulator, but when combined with other elements, it can become a semiconductor with formidable properties for computers and solid-state, microwave electronics. Scientists' newfound ability to grow a nanometer-to-micron sized synthetic diamond is enhancing the field of semiconductor spintronics and quantum information processing.