World's Smallest Diamond Ring is For Computing, Not Your FiancéeS

It might look kinda grey and boring, but the tiny ring in that image is a world-beater: it measures just five microns across, and is only 300 nanometers thick. That's very, very tiny indeed. So, it won't be going around anyone's finger as a symbol of undying love... but it may be a key component in single-photon detectors and quantum computing, which makes it very cool indeed.

Shown last week at the American Physical Society, the ring was actually produced in the University of Melbourne, and is crafted from synthetic diamond material. It's designed to be a component in a device that detects single photons, which in turn has a role to play in quantum computing. That's the nifty technology that uses strange things like photon-entanglement and data bits that are neither zero or one. One day it'll may make super-computers even more ridiculously powerful than they already are, for, you know, all sorts of cryptography and other funky math.

If that's too much science for you, think of the ring as just an amazing bit of engineering that is one twentieth the width of a single human hair. Neat, eh? [Live Science]