Material science in diamond field makes new strides

Diamond
[Image Courtesy: Bitcoinist]

43 new forms of diamond-like superhard carbon structures identified

Diamonds are known to be the hardest substance commercially available to humans, which can help in slicing, drilling and polishing other objects and maybe even for creating scratch-resistant coating for expensive items. Material science in the diamond field is now making newer strides, with scientists using computational techniques to identify 43 superhard forms of carbon, previously unknown, which are predicted to be slightly harder or even as hard as a diamond. These new varieties consist of carbon atoms arranged in distinct pattern in crystal lattice structure.

Diamond
[Image Courtesy: Phys.org]
While the research led by Eva Zurek – Professor of Chemistry at University of Buffalo and Stefano Curtarolo – Professor of mechanical engineering and material science at Duke University, is theoretical at the moment, it holds the potential to give new forms of diamond-based materials which are harder – estimated to exceed Vicker’s hardness of diamonds and even cheaper.

 

MIT makes a $2 million diamond disappear with a new blackest material

Scientists at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) made a 16.78 carat yellow diamond worth $2 million disappear by coating it with a high-tech ‘blackest black’ material – 10 times blacker than even the Vantablack or anything reported till date. The diamond now looks as if it has fallen in a black void. Done for artistic purposes, the coated diamond is now called “The Redemption of Vanity” and the piece of art is on exhibit at New York Stock Exchange till 25th November.

Created by Brian Wardle – Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, Technology Artist-in-residence at MIT – Diemut Strebe and LJ West Diamonds, the ultra black material is made from CNT (Carbon Nano Tubes) – microscopic filaments of carbon, which was grown on a chlorine-etched aluminum foil surface, which captures at least 99.995% of light.

Diamond
[Image Courtesy: MIT, Mining.com, R. Capanna, A. Berlato, A. Pinato]
Apart from artistic purposes like British sculptor Anish Kapoor having exclusive rights to use Vantablack, created by UK-based company Surrey NanoSystems in 2014, in art projects, this new blackest black material created by MIT can have far reaching practical implications in optics, like optical blinders to reduce unwanted glare to help space telescopes spot orbiting exoplanets.

 

New combination of glass and Lab-grown diamonds for nanostructures

While it is critical to develop technologies for making devices smaller than a human hair width, for diamond applications in drug delivery, semiconductors and others, current methods for making these micro and nanostructures are expensive and inefficient. However, scientists at OIST (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University) have developed a unique way by combining glass and Lab-grown diamond material foundation to create tiny nanostructures.

By drilling cavities of around 40 micrometers in diameter and depth onto one side of a glass slab that has been reduced to a thickness of 50 micrometers, and growing a 175-nanometer thick nanocrystalline diamond film on the other side of the glass, scientists have developed a new substrate that is low cost and leaves minimal wastage minimizing negative environmental impact.

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