Nitrogen is the most common trace element in both natural and laboratory-grown diamonds, and the number and nature of the nitrogen-containing defects can have a profound effect on diamond and its physical properties.
Chloe Peaker and co-authors recently presented a review of “Nitrogen in Diamond” for the scientific journal Chemical Reviews: one of the most highly regarded and highest-ranked journals covering the general topic of chemistry. Read it here!
This article looks at the recent progress made in the two different techniques used to grow diamond: high pressure high temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Each of these techniques allows for very precise control of nitrogen incorporation into diamond. Diamonds can then be further processed (e.g., by implantation or annealing) to achieve specific outcomes or properties depending on the required application.
The ever increasing availability of diamonds grown under well-defined conditions has enabled huge advances in the characterisation and understanding of nitrogen-containing defects in diamond. Among these, the negatively charged nitrogen-vacancy (NV–) defect in diamond is attracting lots of interest because it offers many exciting opportunities for quantum technologies, nanoscale magnetometry and biosensing.
For more on quantum applications of diamonds, check out some cool summaries here and here.