Sometimes nanoscale diamonds contain a specific type of impurity: a single nitrogen atom where a carbon atom should be, with an empty space right next to it, resulting from a second missing carbon atom. This nitrogen-vacancy (NV) impurity gives each nanodiamond special optical and electromagnetic properties. Nitrogen vacancy centers in nanodiamonds require a method to manipulate their electron spin orientations physically. Recent work demonstrates a general active NV system: Nanodiamond swimmers that self-propel.
Self-propelled swimming nanodiamonds for biological applications