Engineers are stretching diamonds to revolutionize electronics

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EXCERPT: Silicon was the material that facilitated a total paradigm shift in information processing, but it can't conduct electrons fast enough to keep up with our insatiable info-appetites. As we round third base on a new computing future, the hardware industry has to keep up its end of the bargain. That’s led to a scorched-earth hunt for substances that can power the next phase of growth.

There isn’t a substance on this planet that can withstand and conduct and deliver energy flows like a diamond. The super material’s unreal ability to move electrons has made it the belle of the high-tech ball for five years running. But the punishing demands of computational quantum leaps have pushed diamonds to their semiconducting limits, too. Since ceilings can’t be a thing, scientists are "doping" diamonds to make them stronger, faster, and more efficient. But the yields are incremental.

A joint research team led by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is taking a radically different approach to the problem: elastic strain engineering. They’re breaking diamonds down to nano-size where they can then be physically stretched. This process opens up the internal bands through which energy can travel, and cranks their conducting power up exponentially. If strain engineering research continues to corroborate these findings, the impact will go far beyond personal computing. Almost every industry we hold dear will be rendered unrecognizable by today’s standards. To get a grip on the current situation though, here’s a quick tour through the many-sided world of diamonds... (MORE - details)

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