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MM: Molecular-Sensing Smartphone; Diamond Electrical Nanowires

In this episode of Manufacturing Minute, analyzing the world around us with a smartphone and electrical wires made from diamond bits.

Molecular-Sensing Smartphone

With all the things our smartphones can do these days — take photos, email friends, access the Internet, send directions, play music and even occasionally make phone calls — it’s hard to imagine what’s next. Well the recently announced Changhong H2 might have the answer — it can tell us what things are made of. 

Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, the Android-powered H2 is the result of a partnership between three companies, one of which — Consumer Physics Inc. — created the SCiO Pocket Molecular Sensor, which is essentially a miniature spectroscope. The sensor works by shining near-infrared light on materials, which excites their molecules. The light that's reflected off the vibrating molecules is then analyzed to identify them by their unique optical signature and, in turn, determine the chemical composition of the material.

Although the sensor should work on almost any material, some of the suggested initial uses include checking the nutrient values of foods, the ripeness of fresh produce, or the authenticity of medications. 


Is this something consumers would use? Would this miniaturized technology be useful in a manufacturing setting? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below. 

Electrical Wires Made From Diamond Bits

Scientists have created the thinnest electrical wire possible, using the thinnest cut of diamonds.

And when I say thin, I mean thin — as in just three atoms wide — thin.

Physicists from Stanford University created the nanowires using diamonoids — the smallest component part of a diamond. A Sulphur atom was attached to each diamonoid and made to bond with copper ions in a solution.

Researchers say the nanowires basically build themselves via a phenomenon called van der Waals force. Described as similar to LEGO blocks, the pieces only fit together a certain way. The result is a conductive core of copper and Sulphur atoms and a diamondoid insulating shell.

Researchers are now experimenting with different materials in place of Sulphur and cooper to see what other kinds of nanowires can be created with the same technique.

Scientists say these minuscule wires could be used in a range of applications, including electricity-generating fabrics and optoelectronic devices, as well as improving light-emitting diodes and solar cells.


In what ways do you see these microscopic electrical wires being used? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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