Gold-diamond combo let scientists control temperature of cells

Minuscule diamonds typically found in quantum computers, combined with fragments of gold, can be used to measure the temperature of individual cells, a team of researchers working on DARPA's Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout (QuASAR) program has found.

According to some of the finding published in Nature, the method could lead to a more accurate way to eradicate cancers while saving healthy tissue — and a new way to study cell behaviour.

The team led by Mikhail Lukin at Harvard University decided to try tested a living cell’s by using imperfections engineered into diamond, known as nitrogen-vacancy (NV) color centres, as nanoscale thermometers.

The QuASAR group also demonstrated control and mapping of temperature gradients at the subcellular level by implanting gold nanoparticles into a human cell alongside the diamond sensors, which are only 100 nanometers in diameter.

If used in the human bodies, diamond thermometers could improve cancer therapy, as it could be possible to monitor temperatures of cancerous cells and their healthy neighbours and target only the cancer ones in treatment.

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