Lonsdaleite, a Hardest, Nanoscale Diamond Made in Lab

Diamonds are known for being the hardest besides being the most stunning and shiniest mineral ever. A team scientists have invented a nanosized version of Lonsdaleite, a diamond that is harder than most diamonds found in nature.

A team constituting a group of international scientists,  researchers from Australian National University (ANU), experts from RMIT, the University of Sydney, and the United States have in collaboration has developed a diamond in the lab. The diamond is given a hexagonal structure with a property of being the hardest.

The study undertaken by the team has been published in the journal Scientific Reports. The team has described the process of development of the nanocrystalline hexagonal diamond Lonsdaleite from glassy carbon, in the journal.

The diamond is named after a renowned crystallographer Dame Kathleen Lonsdale. Lonsdaleite has so far only been found in nature mostly at the sites of meteorite impacts. The team has managed to produce it in the lab for the first time ever. They made it in a diamond anvil at just 400° Celsius (752° F) which otherwise would require double the temperature for it to form in the lab environment.

It is believed that Lonsdaleite possesses the ability even to cut through ultra- solid materials and can thereby, be used for a variety of applications. The lead researcher Jodie Bradby from ANU’s Research School of Physics and Engineering claimed, “This new diamond is not going to be on any engagement rings. You’ll more likely find it on a mining site.” He further added, “Any time you need a super-hard material to cut something, this new diamond has the potential to do it more easily and more quickly.”

Bradby regarding the diamonds strength explained that it is, “the hexagonal structure of this diamond’s atoms makes it much harder than regular diamonds, which have a cubic structure.” The astonishing fact about this invention is that the researchers have managed to produce such a hard diamond on a nanoscale. Bradby stated, “We’ve been able to make it at the nanoscale, and this is exciting because often with these materials ‘smaller is stronger’.”

 

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Shobith MAKAM Written by: