How diamonds could make your computer faster and more powerful

Future computers could use diamonds to make them more powerful. Far from creating diamond-studded desktop,s the precious mineral has for the first time been used in wire to transmit information.

A group of scientists from Ohio University, US, managed to demonstrate that information can flow through a diamond wire, using a process called ‘spintronics’.

The researchers found that electrons did not pass through diamond as they do in traditional electronics but rather passed along a magnetic effect called ‘spin’ – much like a crowd performing a Mexican Wave at an event.

“To a scientist, diamonds are kind of boring, unless you’re getting engaged.”

Chris Hammel, from the university, said that diamond is an effective material for transferring information by spintronics as it doesn’t hold heat, is electrically insulating and resistant to acids.

He said: “Basically [the diamond], it’s inert. You can’t do anything to it. To a scientist, diamonds are kind of boring, unless you’re getting engaged.

“But it’s interesting to think about how diamond would work in a computer.

“If this wire were part of a computer, it would transfer information. There’s no question that you’d be able to tell at the far end of the wire what the spin state of the original particle was at the beginning.”

The researchers say the discovery challenges the way spin has been studied for the last 70 years.

“If this wire were part of a computer, it would transfer information”

The experiment was the first time that spins have been able to be seen in a diamond. To be able to see the spins taking place the scientists had to cool the wire to -269°C, which slowed them down and made them visible to the technological equipment.

They also had to spike the wire with nitrogen atoms to break carbon bonds in the diamond to allow the spin to happen and pass down the wire.

One of the most promising potentials for the use of the diamond wire comes with the cost. Unlike extortionately expensive diamonds used for jewellery the wire only cost $100. The costs could also be decreased with mass production of the wire.

The reason behind the diamond wire being so cheap is due to it being made from synthetic diamond rather than naturally created diamond.

Hammel said: “The fact that spins can move like this means that the conventional way that the world measures spin dynamics on the macroscopic level has to be reconsidered—it’s actually not valid.”

The researchers’ work first appeared in the journal Nature Technology.

Image courtesy of Kim Alaniz via Flickr / Creative Commons Licence .

In Pictures: This Week’s Most Futuristic Designs


Finger phone

This concept from designer Issam Trabelsi sees your index finger acting as a phone and the Nokia FIT. The device is crafted from silicone and flexible rubber and the phone is waterproof. Notifications are received through vibrations and it could even be worn while swimming.

Image courtesy of the Issam Travelsi via Yanko Design.


The 30m telescope

Hawaii is being lined up for the ‘thirty meter telescope’ project which is being led by a team of engineers and scientists and overseen by TMT observatory corporation. The telescope, due to be complete in 2020, will be within a 60m dome which will give a full range of moments

Image courtesy of the TMT observatory corporation via Design Boom.


The Serpentine hotel

This planned hotel for Norway has been given a distinctive serpentine-shape to allow hotel guests and residents views from every location inside the building. The hotel is intended to bring new guests to the beautiful Lofoten area as they try to relax. The hotel will also include apartments, a spar and outdoor sport facilities.

Image courtesy of Snøhetta architects via Inhabitat.


Helicopter of the future

This helicopter is what will be used to repair power lines in the year 2028. Well, that’s the thoughts of the designers Felix Schumacher and Lino Lehner who came up with the idea. The helicopter will be propelled and lifted by four rotors and be flexible to all the repairs needed on power lines. Although goodness knows why the two men in the illustration are looking away from the helicopter.

Image courtesy of designers Felix Schumacher and Lino Lehner via Tuvie


Trontium Reactor

It’s claimed this power pack will be able to charge your laptop using USB technology. The device has enough power to charge the latest iPhone 50 times and there are three USB ports to allow multiple devices to charge at once. It also has the coolest name of anything on this page.

Image courtesy of Trontium