Diamonds are for Data Storage

Most data storage devices we currently use are, at their core, two-dimensional. Sure, a hard drive might have multiple platters, but the data storage takes place on a flat surface. Even an optical drive is effectively a single surface that holds data. At the  City College of New York, they are experimenting with storing data in three dimensions using lab-grown diamonds and LASERs.

Usually, diamonds that have few flaws are more valuable. But in this application, the researchers exploit the flaws to store information. Optical memory that uses a volume instead of a surface isn’t exactly new. However, it is difficult to use these techniques in a way that is rewritable.

Diamonds are a crystalline¬†structure of carbon atoms. Sometimes, though, a carbon atom is missing from the structure. That’s a vacancy. Another defect is when a nitrogen atom replaces a carbon atom. Sometimes a vacancy occurs next to a rogue nitrogen atom and that causes an NV (nitrogen vacancy) center.

Continue reading “Diamonds are for Data Storage”

Diamond thermal paste: update

thermal_paste_test_rig

The need to conduct laboratory-style experiments runs deep in some people. [Freddyman] built an apparatus to test out several commercial and homemade thermal pastes, including the DIY diamond thermal grease we reported on last month. He setup each experiment in the middle of an air conditioned room, ran the heat sink fan for 30 minutes to equalize the temperature, then turned on the DIY heat generator that the paste and heat sink were connected to. He’s got a lot of data from tests he ran with the eight thermal conductors; air (using no paste), Arctic Silver 5, Ceramique, Dow thermal fluid, pure silicone oil, silicone and diamond slurry, Dow fluid with diamonds, and the Inventgeek.com remake.

One of the big problems with DIY paste is the air bubbles that are introduced into the slurry as you mix in the diamonds. All of the homemade pastes except one were put in a vacuum chamber in an attempt to remove tiny bubbles. The one that wasn’t put in the vacuum performed the worst of all the thermal conductors. In all cases, the commercially available products performed quite well while the DIY solutions delivered mixed results.