Innovation That Matters

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Technology turns carbon to diamonds at room temperature


A new way to make diamond fibres with a laser could disrupt the $14-billion diamond industry


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Spotted: A research team at North Carolina State University has discovered a way to create diamonds at room temperature. Man-made diamonds aren’t new, but this development is significant because it means diamond fibres – the seeds of diamonds, if you will – can be created with a laser, according to the team.

Led by Dr. Jagdish Narayan, the researchers found that if a small cylinder-shaped piece of carbon (known as a carbon nanotube) is paired with an underlying substance like glass, the heat from the laser will melt the carbon but not vaporise it. The melted material is quickly cooled, creating diamond “fibres” which can be used for things like quantum computing. The process itself can create “diamond-seeded carbon”, which makes larger diamonds for the deep drilling industry – or for jewellery.

The university has filed for a patent for the technology.




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