Zap a diamond nanoparticle with laser light and it will fluoresce, emitting single photons if it is small enough. That makes nanodiamonds extremely useful, say Aurélien Cuche at the Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble and pals.
For a start, nanodiamonds are easily absorbed by cells, which allows them and the processes inside them to be tracked with ease.
But Cuche and co have found a more exciting use: they have attached a nanodiamond the tip of a scanning near field microscope to provide single photon illumination when needed. And this dramatically improves the resolution of these devices, says the team.
Which means that nanodiamonds, cough, are a microscopist’s best friend.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0809.2026: Diamond Nanoparticles as Photoluminescent Nanoprobes for Biology and Near-Field Optics