Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Scientists Grow Diamonds in Just 15 Minutes with New ‘Gem-Changing Method

Scientists have recently discovered a groundbreaking method to grow diamonds in just 15 minutes.

Natural diamonds form in Earth’s mantle, buried hundreds of miles beneath the surface, under extreme pressures and temperatures exceeding 1,500°C. This natural process can take between one and 3.3 billion years.

Currently, 99% of artificial diamonds are produced using the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) method, where carbon is dissolved in liquid metals like iron and converted into diamonds around a small seed. However, this method is difficult to maintain and only yields relatively small diamonds. Another method, chemical vapor deposition, avoids some of these challenges but still requires seeds.

A team led by Rodney Ruoff, a physical chemist at the Institute for Basic Science in South Korea, has developed a new technique that allows scientists to synthesize diamonds at normal atmospheric pressure without a starter gem.

This innovation could make it much easier to grow precious gemstones in the lab and overcome some of the drawbacks of existing synthesis processes. The team’s findings were published in the journal Nature in April.

Natural diamonds are formed deep within the Earth’s mantle, buried hundreds of miles below the surface. They are created under extreme conditions, with pressures and temperatures soaring above 1,500°C. This natural diamond-forming process is incredibly slow, often taking anywhere from one to 3.3 billion years to complete.

In contrast, most synthetic diamonds available today are made using the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) method. This process involves dissolving carbon in liquid metals like iron and then converting this carbon into diamonds around a small seed.

Despite its effectiveness, the HPHT method is challenging to control and typically produces only relatively small diamonds. Another approach, called chemical vapor deposition (CVD), can bypass some of these issues but still requires the use of diamond seeds to start the growth process.

The exciting new method, developed by a research team led by Rodney Ruoff, a physical chemist at the Institute for Basic Science in South Korea, represents a significant breakthrough in diamond synthesis.

Unlike traditional methods, this new technique allows scientists to create diamonds at normal atmospheric pressure without needing a starter gem. This could simplify the process of growing diamonds in laboratories and help overcome some of the limitations of current methods.

The team’s research, published in the prestigious journal Nature in April, details how they achieved this remarkable feat. By using this innovative approach, they were able to produce diamonds much more quickly and efficiently than ever before. This advancement could revolutionize the diamond industry, making it easier and cheaper to produce high-quality diamonds for a variety of uses, from jewelry to industrial applications.

This new method of diamond synthesis could have far-reaching implications. Not only could it lower the cost of producing diamonds, but it could also reduce the environmental impact associated with traditional diamond mining. By making it possible to create diamonds in a lab in just 15 minutes, this technique opens up new possibilities for the future of gemstone production.

Related Articles

Latest Articles