A diamond microdisk, that could lead to advances in computing, telecommunications and other fields, has been developed by a team of physicists at the University of Calgary. The nano-sized optical resonator was made from a single crystal of diamond.

"The ability to trap light in nanoscale volumes in an optical cavity creates high electromagnetic intensity from tiny amounts of light, and amplifies light-matter interactions that are typically nearly impossible to study," explained associate professor Paul Barclay.

The group used light to vibrate the disk to the gigahertz frequencies used in computers and cell phone transmission. "It shows that diamond has a lot of potential as a material for making mechanical oscillators at this scale," Barclay said.

"Diamond optomechanical devices have many potential applications, including sensing, technology for shifting the colour of light, and quantum information and computing technologies,” he added.

"By inventing a new nano-fabrication process for single-crystal diamond, we have demonstrated a device that is pushing the state-of-the-art in cavity optomechanics," PhD student Matthew Mitchell said. "It holds great promise for realising an on-chip platform to control the interaction of light, vibrations and electrons."