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A newly discovered natural phenomenon shows that light could be used to pick apart a substance atom by atom, with new avenues for nano-scale diamond devices, as identified this week by Australian researchers in Nature Communications.

"Lasers are known to be very precise at cutting and drilling materials on a small scale – less than the width of a human hair, in fact – but on the atomic scale they have notoriously poor resolution," says lead researcher Associate Professor Richard Mildren.

"If we can harness lasers at higher resolutions, the opportunities at the atomic level are tremendous, especially for future nano-scale devices in data storage, quantum computers, nano-sensors and high-power on-chip lasers."

The dawning of the Diamond Age? To read more, click here.