Scientists Created Rare Diamonds at Room Temperature

By: | November 19th, 2020

Study author Xingshuo Huang with the device used to create the lab-grown diamonds (Image courtesy: Jamie Kidston, ANU)

In a big breakthrough, scientists have created diamonds in minutes inside a lab at room temperature.

However, the formation of traditional diamonds takes over billions of years. They are formed deep within the Earth’s crust under conditions of intense heat and pressure that cause carbon atoms to crystallize.

Billion-year wait for getting the perfect diamond is over

Now the researchers at the Australian National University and RMIT have discovered the way to develop diamonds in minutes. The team made two types of diamonds: 

  • Regular diamond as found on an engagement ring
  • Lonsdaleite diamonds that are rarer and found at meteorite impact sites. 

How they manage to achieve this?

For this breakthrough, researchers used the device known as a diamond anvil cell. Researchers used this device that compresses small pieces to extreme pressures needed to create ultra-hard materials.

So they applied pressure equivalent of 640 African elephants on the tip of a ballet shoe. As a result, an unexpected reaction was triggered by the carbon atoms in the device.

ANU Professor Jodie Bradby said, “The twist in the story is how we apply the pressure,” “As well as very high pressures, we allow the carbon to also experience something called ‘shear’ – which is like a twisting or sliding force. We think this allows the carbon atoms to move into place and form Lonsdaleite and regular diamond.”

He added, “Lonsdaleite has the potential to be used for cutting through ultra-solid materials on mining sites,” 

“Creating more of this rare but super useful diamond is the long-term aim of this work.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

More articles from Industry Tap...