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Synthetic, ultra-hard diamond made at room temperature

Kitco News

Researchers only relied on high pressure and not high temperatures to manufacture a synthetic diamond.

The team behind the achievement are researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) and RMIT University. The findings were published in the research publication Small earlier this month.

According to the ANU's newsrooms which profiled the achivement, two types of diamonds were made: the kind found on an engagement ring and another type of diamond called Lonsdaleite, which is found in nature at the site of meteorite impacts such as Canyon Diablo in the US.

ANU Professor Jodie Bradby said a special technique was employed to make the diamonds form at room temperature.

"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," Professor Bradby said.

The Lonsdaleite has special properties and are prediced to be 58% harder than regular diamonds.

"Lonsdaleite has the potential to be used for cutting through ultra-solid materials on mining sites," Professor Bradby said.

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

The diamonds have potential industrial applications, such as drilling.

Xingshuo Huang, a ANU PhD scholar working in Professor Bradby's lab, touted the achivement.

"Being able to make two types of diamonds at room temperature was exciting to achieve for the first time in our lab," Huang said.

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