These super-efficient wires can conduct electricity without any loss of energy. It can also be knitted into a fabric.
Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy and from Stanford University have devised a method to make incredibly thin wires which have extraordinary properties.
Researchers have used diamondoids, the smallest possible forms of diamond, to build electrical wires that are just three atoms in diameter.
Thanks to their minuscule size, these tiny wires have the potential to be used in fabric that can actually conduct electricity without losing any energy.
The wires can practically self-assemble through a Lego-inspired building method. The process begins when a sulfur atom is attached to a diamondoid. When this is put into a solution, the sulfur atom bonds with a copper ion thus creating a nanowire ‘building block’. Since diamondoids attract each other, they snap together and in the process a tiny wire is created.
Although this process sound tedious and complex, it is surprising surprisingly quick. A super-wire can be created only in half an hour and more importantly these can be created with pinpoint accuracy.
“Much like Lego blocks, they only fit together in certain ways that are determined by their size and shape,” explained Fei Hua Li, a Stanford graduate student who was one of the key researchers responsible for synthesising the wires.
He went on to add, “The copper and sulfur atoms of each building block wound up in the middle, forming the conductive core of the wire, and the bulkier diamondoids wound up on the outside, forming the insulating shell.”
Although the research is currently in early stages, its potential is very impressive.
It could lead to the creation of brand new materials with surprising electrical properties and be the harbinger of an era in which electricity can be transmitted without any loss.
It could transform the world we live.