Researchers in Japan have developed an incredibly thin wire — just half a micrometre in diameter — made from a new composite material composed of traditional copper and those new fangled carbon nanotubes. But what makes this creation particularly awesome is that the new wire allows over 100 times more current to flow than a traditional copper thread.
Furthermore, the new material, which is made by electroplating copper particles onto a single-walled carbon nanotube structure — in principle, similar to a reinforced concrete wall — has minimal thermal expansion properties. So when a large current is applied and the wire gets hot, it won’t over-expand or deform. Which means the new material could be used in circuits and other microscopic applications, boosting the amount of current that can be handled without the whole thing going up in smoke. [Tech-on!]