In just a few minutes, a team of scientists, including the Australian National University (ANU) and RMIT University, developed two kinds of diamonds in a laboratory at room temperature. These two types of diamonds are the form used on an engagement ring and jewelry another type of diamond called Lonsdaleite, which is found in the wild at meteorite impact sites such as Canyon Diablo in the United States.
This breakthrough has defied nature to make diamonds in minutes at room temperature in a laboratory, a process that usually takes billions of years, huge amounts of pressure, and super-hot temperatures.
This completely new discovery shows that both Lonsdaleite and regular diamonds can also form at normal room temperatures by applying high pressure – equivalent to 640 African elephants on the tip of a ballet shoe.
Using advanced electron microscopy techniques, scientists could obtain firm and intact slices of experimental samples to produce snapshots of how the two types of diamonds were created. These pictures have shown that normal diamonds grow only in the center of these Lonsdaleite veins under this modern approach developed by our cross-institutional team.
Professor Dougal McCulloch, the co-lead researcher, said For the first time, seeing these little ‘rivers’ of Lonsdaleite and the regular diamond was just amazing and help us understand how they could form.
Professor Bradby said, “Lonsdaleite has the potential to be used for cutting ultra-solid materials at mining sites.”
The long-term goal of this work is to create more of this rare but super-useful diamond.
Ms. Xingshuo Huang said Being able to make two types of diamonds at room temperature was exciting to achieve for the first time in our lab.