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Ridiculously thin diamond wires could help make tech tiny

How thin? We're talking nanometers.

Jessica Dolcourt Editorial Director, Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt's career with CNET began in 2006, and spans reviews, reporting, analysis and commentary for desktop software; mobile software, including the very first Android and iPhone apps and operating systems; and mobile hardware, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of practical advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
The Raspberry Pi 3 packs a lot of computing horsepower into a $35 circuit board for students.​

Nanowire circuit boards would make this Raspberry Pi 3 circuit board for students look like Goliath.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Diamonds are a techie's best friend?

They might be when they're one ingredient in supersmall circuit boards that can cram more power into your future electronics and use up a lot less space.

Those circuit boards haven't been created yet, but the nanowires that could make them up have, by coating copper and sulfur atoms with diamond dust to produce the world's thinnest nanowire.

The findings, which published online Monday, come from a group of scientists out of Stanford University and SLAC, under the catchy title "Hybrid metal-organic chalcogenide nanowires with electrically conductive inorganic core through diamondoid-directed assembly."

There's been work in this area before, but two findings give the team hope for producing quantities of the these eensy-weensy nanowires. First, the diamond wires are highly conductive, which bodes well for their use in scaling down electronics. Second, the three-molecule-wide structure assembles itself, like a set of microscopic, semiprecious Lego.

Lab-created wonders of technology don't always make it into your fridges and phones, but where there a will to create tinier tech, there's often a way.