Australian researchers may have discovered a kind of diamond that is harder than the regular one.
The diamond, found in a nano-crystalline form, is harder and stronger than the bulk form. The material is the purest form of the hexagonal Lonsdaleite ever discovered.
Discovery of the new diamond a ‘very fortuitous find’
“Regular diamonds are cubic. These [newly found] diamonds are hexagonal. So they have a different structure,” Jodie Bradby, associate professor at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering, said. “The atoms are arranged in slightly different ways and that gives them different properties.”
Bradby described it as a “very fortuitous find.”
However, the experiment did not start in the most optimal manner. Professor David McKenzie from the University of Sydney said he noticed “something different.”
“It was a little shoulder on the side of a peek and it didn’t mean all that much until we examined it later on in Melbourne and Canberra,” he said. “We realized it was something very, very different.”
Stronger Diamond ‘More Efficient’
Bradby further said they almost missed the discovery of a new hexagonal form of carbon.
The material was created in the laboratory by a diamond anvil cell. Two diamonds are placed opposite each other and “super high pressures” are applied on them. The pressure is equivalent to what is found deep inside the Earth. Although until now they were only found in impact craters, scientists were able to recreate them in the laboratory at low temperatures for the first time.
Owing to their hardness, diamonds are extensively used in cutting strong materials. “So if there’s an even harder diamond, it’s a lot more efficient in terms of cutting,” Bradby said.
However, the newly discovered diamond cannot be placed on an engagement ring, Bradby said.
The new diamond is being seen as a major advancement in the field of science. “Diamonds are a scientist’s best friend,” Bradby said.
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