Related topics: quantum computing · carbon

A sound boost to extreme laser performance

Diamond is a particularly interesting material for this type of laser for two key reasons. Its high thermal conductivity means it is possible to make miniature lasers that simultaneously have high stability and high power. ...

Scientists create the first diamond X-ray micro lens

After fourth-generation synchrotrons were invented (these are particle accelerators, which are, in fact, giant research facilities), there was an urgent need for a fundamentally new optics that could withstand high temperatures ...

Smoothing out the rough diamonds

Easier access to information and better communication tools has empowered consumers and allows them to make informed and perhaps more socially responsible purchasing decisions. At the same time, corporate responsibility and ...

Bending diamond is possible, at the nanoscale

Diamond is prized by scientists and jewelers alike, largely for a range of extraordinary properties including exceptional hardness. Now a team of Australian scientists has discovered diamond can be bent and deformed, at the ...

Measuring a particle's spin in a rapidly rotating object

A team of researchers at the University of Melbourne has succeeded in measuring a single quantum spin in a rapidly rotating object for the first time. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group ...

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Diamond

In mineralogy, diamond (from the ancient Greek αδάμας – adámas "unbreakable") is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions. Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms. In particular, diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material. Those properties determine the major industrial application of diamond in cutting and polishing tools.

Diamond has remarkable optical characteristics. Because of its extremely rigid lattice, it can be contaminated by very few types of impurities, such as boron and nitrogen. Combined with wide transparency, this results in the clear, colorless appearance of most natural diamonds. Small amounts of defects or impurities (about one per million of lattice atoms) color diamond blue (boron), yellow (nitrogen), brown (lattice defects), green (radiation exposure), purple, pink, orange or red. Diamond also has relatively high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of different colors), which results in its characteristic luster. Excellent optical and mechanical properties, combined with efficient marketing, make diamond the most popular gemstone.

Most natural diamonds are formed at high-pressure high-temperature conditions existing at depths of 140 to 190 kilometers (87 to 120 mi) in the Earth mantle. Carbon-containing minerals provide the carbon source, and the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth). Diamonds are brought close to the Earth surface through deep volcanic eruptions by a magma, which cools into igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites. Diamonds can also be produced synthetically in a high-pressure high-temperature process which approximately simulates the conditions in the Earth mantle. An alternative, and completely different growth technique is chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Several non-diamond materials, which include cubic zirconia and silicon carbide and are often called diamond simulants, resemble diamond in appearance and many properties. Special gemological techniques have been developed to distinguish natural and synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants.

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