e thinnest wires today are not the sort of loopy cables that connect the power sockets in the walls, but are instead simply printed on circuit boards that are inside everything from your 65” flat-screen TV to the tiniest chip inside your smallest gadget. At just a few tens of micrometers wide, they are about the same width as human hair.
Now imagine a wire that is only three atoms wide, or about 1,000 times narrower than human hair. If it helps, think of the difference between a hair strand and a pencil, and apply that same difference in scale to the imaginary wire and the hair strand. Existing as practically a one-dimensional material, such a wire would have extraordinary properties.
Scientists from Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have created such a wire using diamondoids, the smallest possible pieces of diamond. Using a combination of copper and sulfur known as a chalcogenide for a superconducting core and an insulating shell made of diamondoids, the nanowire assembles itself.