Diamond has a track record of extremes, including ultrahardness, higher thermal conductivity than any other solid material and transparency to ultraviolet light. In addition, diamond has recently become much more attractive for solid-state electronics, with the development of techniques to grow high-purity, single-crystal synthetic diamonds and insert suitable impurities into them (doping). Pure diamond is an electrical insulator, but doped, it can become a semiconductor with exceptional properties. It could be used for detecting ultraviolet light, ultraviolet light-emitting diodes and optics, and high-power microwave electronics. But the application that has many researchers excited is quantum spintronics, which could lead to a practical quantum computer—capable of feats believed impossible for regular computers—and ultrasecure communication.
Spintronics is an advanced form of electronics that harnesses not just the electrical charge of electrons (as in conventional electronics) but also a property called spin that makes electrons act like tiny bar magnets. Your computer probably already contains the first and most rudimentary commercial application of spintronics: since 1998 hard-drive read heads have used a spintronic effect called giant magnetoresistance to detect the microscopic magnetic domains on a disk that represent the 1s and 0s of the data it contains.