Engineers at the University of Edinburgh claim to have made a breakthrough that could lead to the development of mobile phones that are as powerful as laptops.

The research team, led by Dr Michael Zaiser, says "supercomputers in the palm of your hand" could be enabled by manipulating tiny wires that are 1,000 times thinner than human hair.

The findings from the research, which also draws on the expertise of researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Rome, will be published in the journal Science.

For now, all the scientists have revealed about their workings is that they've found that wires on a nanoscale behave in a "funny way", and they've developed a computer programme that can predict the variances, and how to avoid them. This, they claim, could lead to supercomputers the size of a matchbox.

"Holding a supercomputer in the palm of your hand will one day be possible - and we are going to make sure all the wires are in the right place," said Zaiser, speaking to the BBC.

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