Millions of years and enormous amounts of pressure are required to make diamonds. Australian scientists created two different types.
A group of scientists created diamonds at room temperature. It is an open challenge to Nature: it takes millions of years and extremely high temperatures to create them.
Researchers from the Australian National University and RMIT University produced two types of diamonds:
The normal one, which can be found in an engagement ring.
And the Lonsdaleite, which can be found at the site of meteorite impacts such as Diablo Canyon, in the United States.
A diamond is one of the most valuable minerals in the world, due to its physical and optical characteristics. It is the second most stable form of carbon, after graphite.
Carbon atoms are arranged in a variant of the cubic crystalline structure, which gives them their peculiar shape.
« Natural diamonds generally form over billions of years, about 150 kilometers deep from the Earth, » explains Professor Jodie Bradby. « In that place there are high pressures and temperatures above a thousand degrees centigrade. »
To create the diamond at room temperature, the researchers used electron microscopy techniques to capture slices of experimental samples. From these samples the two types of diamonds were created.
La Lonsdaleíta, the most curious of all diamonds
The most curious of those created was the Lonsdaleite, named after the crystalgrapher Dame Kathleen Lonsdale. It has a different crystal structure than regular diamond.
« It has the potential to be used to cut ultra-solid materials at mining sites, » said Bradby. « Creating more of this rare but super useful diamond is the long-term goal of this work. »
For more information about the discovery, you can consult at the following link, which belongs to the Australian National University.