World's Smallest Diamonds Used To Make Wires Three Atoms Wide

Posted: Dec 27 2016, 4:10am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

World's Smallest Diamonds Used to Make Wires Three Atoms Wide
An illustration shows the basic nanowire building block – a diamondoid cage carrying atoms of copper and sulfur – drifting toward the growing tip of a nanowire, center, where it will attach in a way determined by its size and shape. The copper and sulfur atoms wind up on the inside, forming a core of semiconducting material, and the diamondoids remain on the outside, where they function as an insulating shell. Credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
  • Scientists make Electric Wires that are Three Atoms Wide from World's smallest diamonds
 

Apparently, scientists have made electric wires that are three atoms wide from diamondoids.

Stanford University and the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory scientists have found a way of utilizing diamondoids. These are the smallest bits of diamond which are assembled into the thinnest electric wires.

These wires are just three atoms wide. The procedure involves gripping a number of atoms and collating them in a LEGO-like manner. Small wires could be built this way and they have a number of applications.

These applications include: electricity-producing fabrics, gadgets that use both electricity and light and superconducting substances that conduct electricity without any wastage whatsoever. 

The research efforts got published in the journal Nature Materials.

What got demonstrated was how tiny conductive wires of very small sizes got assembled all by themselves. The process is in fact very simple.

You just dump the materials together and in a short amount of time they collate themselves into patterns. It is magic since the diamondoids tend to assemble in a way that suggests they have a mind of their own.

This self-assembly is seen in other materials too. Yet here what is seen is the formation of nanowires that have solid crystalline cores with excellent electric properties. 

These wires appear to be needle-like in their consistency. They also have semiconducting cores. These are composed of a mixture of sulfur and copper. This is called chalcogenide.

The stuck diamondoids form a shell of insulating material. The matter of size is of the utmost importance here. That is because by being so small, these wires manage to possess extraordinary properties.

These properties are different from what they would have been had the material been made in large amounts. These nanowires can be assembled with extreme precision.  

The diamondoids are small cages of hydrogen and carbon atoms. The source of these diamondoids is ordinary petroleum. They are extracted and than undergo separation in regard to size and geometry in an SLAC lab.

A number of uses have been found for these tiny diamondoids. The diamondoids are very much attracted to each other due to van der Waals forces. Scientists attached sulphur atoms to small diamondoids. As this all floated in a solution, the bonding took place.

The building blocks assembled like LEGO. Nanowires made of zinc, cadmium, iron and silver have also been experimented with. It is an exciting journey for scientists as they carry on their research efforts on the leading edge of modern science.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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