There’s a lot of baggage that goes with diamonds: political unrest, unethical practices and the cost of human lives spent mining them. So it’s a stroke of excellent news to hear that scientists have created a new material that can be crafted into diamond-like structures. A sort of “super diamond,” if you will.
The stuff, called Q-carbon, is harder than a diamond and made of materials that researchers say might only be found inside the core of planets. It is, however, distinct from diamonds or graphite, the two known phases of solid carbon.
“We can create diamond nanoneedles or microneedles, nanodots, or large-area diamond films, with applications for drug delivery, industrial processes and for creating high-temperature switches and power electronics,” said Jay Narayan, the John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and lead author of three papers describing the work.
And those diamond-like items would be created using a device that Narayan describes as similar to the kinds of laser used to do eye surgery, making the process inexpensive and easy enough for development of new applications.
In short: you probably won’t be wearing these super diamonds as an engagement ring, but they may seriously change your life just the same.
(Image via iStock)