Scientists in California are developing diamond-based computers that, they believe, would store millions of times more information than the current silicon-based systems.
The researchers have used commercially available technology to pattern large sheets of diamonds with tiny, nitrogen-filled holes.
According to scientists, diamond sheets patterned with thousands of nitrogen atoms could provide the basis for a supercomputer.
The nitrogen-vacancy diamonds, as the sheets are called by scientists, could store millions of times more information than the silicon-based system and process that information dozens of times faster.
Exactly how diamond-based computing would be used has yet to be determined, but applications could range from designing more efficient silicon-based computers to drug development and cryptography.
Nitrogen has been in diamonds for as long as there have been diamonds; it's why some diamonds have a yellow hue.
For years scientists have used these natural, nitrogen-infused diamonds to study various aspects of quantum mechanics.
"We've used well-known techniques to create atomic-size defects in otherwise perfect diamonds," Discovery News quoted David Awschalom, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara and co-author The article appears in the journal ACS Nano Letters.