Related topics: quantum computing · carbon

Can diamonds originate methane?

Turning one of the world's finest gems—diamonds—into one of the worst greenhouse gasses—methane—does not seem a great idea. Yet this happened through the work of a group of researchers from the Universities of Bologna ...

Creating a less fragile diamond using fullerenes

A team of researchers from China, Germany and the U.S. has developed a way to create a less fragile diamond. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their approach to creating a paracrystalline ...

Demonstration of diamond nuclear spin gyroscope

In a new report now published in Science Advances, Andrey Jarmola and an international research team in physics and materials in the U.S. and Germany demonstrated the function of a rotation sensor based on the Nitrogen-14 ...

How flawed diamonds 'lead' to flawless quantum networks

The color in a diamond comes from a defect, or "vacancy," where there is a missing carbon atom in the crystal lattice. Vacancies have long been of interest to electronics researchers because they can be used as 'quantum nodes' ...

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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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