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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Diamonds grown at normal pressure in just 15 minutes

• arclein

The new method, developed by a team from the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) and the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea, synthesizes diamonds using a liquid metal alloy of gallium, iron, nickel and silicon. In a 9-L (2.4-gal) tank, this metal mix is exposed to methane and hydrogen gas at a temperature of 1,025 °C (1,877 °F). After 15 minutes, the gas is purged from the system, and a diamond film will have formed on the bottom. This can be detached easily and used for studies or put straight to work. Usually, synthetic diamond techniques need "seed particles" for the first carbon atoms to latch onto and form a diamond around. But in this case, the trace amounts of silicon in the liquid metal seem to help the carbon atoms form clusters. The end result is a very pure diamond. The other metals can be switched in and out, but it seems that silicon is essential to the process.