Diamond is pure carbon, with the carbon atoms arranged in a strong crystal structure. An international team of researchers led by the Australian National University (ANU) and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia said Wednesday they have created two types of diamond at room temperature by using high pressure equivalent to 640 African elephants. It’s about two types of structurally distinct diamonds: one similar to those typically worn in jewelery, and another type called Lonsdaleite, which is found naturally at the site of meteorite impacts and is harder than most diamonds. Researchers from The University of Sydney and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee, US were also involved in the research.
“Being able to make two types of diamonds at room temperature was exciting to achieve for the first time in our lab,” Xingshuo Huang, an ANU scholar working on the project said to media. Natural diamonds are usually formed over billions of years, about 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) deep in the Earth where there are high pressures and temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). “The twist in the story is how we apply the pressure. As well as very high pressures, we allow the carbon to also experience something called ‘shear’ – which is like a twisting or sliding force. We think this allows the carbon atoms to move into place and form Lonsdaleite and regular diamond,” Prof Bradby said.