Seeing single defects in diamonds

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Science  27 Jun 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5321, pp. 1945
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5321.1945a

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Single-molecule, single-exciton, and single-nanocrystal spectroscopy have led to important insights into the behavior of individual components underlying ensemble averages. Gruber et al. (p. 2012) now present results for single defect centers in diamond. By combining confocal microscopy and magnetic resonance measurements, they show that nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond are highly photostable. Strain leads to defects with different symmetries that could be distinguished by their magnetic response. These defects have potential uses as nanoscopic light sources.