An international group of scientists led by Australian National University and RMIT University in Melbourne, have created two types of diamonds at room temperature. One of the diamonds the team created is the typical type found in rings, jewelries, while the other diamond is called Lonsdaleite, which is found naturally at the site of meteorite impacts and is harder than most diamonds. The scientists made the diamonds at room temperature by using high pressure equivalent to 640 African elephants balancing on the tip of a ballet shoe.
Diamonds are usually made after carbon is crushed and heated far beneath the Earth’s surface over billions of years. Diamonds naturally form deep inside the Earth at a depth of about 150 kilometers where pressure is high enough and temperatures are above 1000 degrees Celsius.
In the new research the scientists surprisingly discovered that both types of diamond can form at room temperature under very high pressure.
According to the team, at high pressures, the carbon experiences something called “shear” which is a twisting or sliding force. They believe shear allows carbon atoms to move into place and form regular diamond or Lonsdaleite.
Synthetic diamonds aren't entirely new, researchers have been able to create them in labs since the 1940s in a bid to find cheaper, ethical and environmentally friendly gems.
But researchers were excited to create such diamonds at room temperature, especially the harder Lonsdaleite diamond, which has the potential to be used to cut through.