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TOPIC: The Diamond Age


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Diamond's 2-billion-year growth charts tectonic shift in early Earth's carbon cycle

A study of tiny mineral 'inclusions' within diamonds from Botswana has shown that diamond crystals can take billions of years to grow. One diamond was found to contain silicate material that formed 2.3 billion years ago in its interior and a 250 million-year-old garnet crystal towards its outer rim, the largest age range ever detected in a single specimen. Analysis of the inclusions also suggests that the way that carbon is exchanged and deposited between the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans and geosphere may have changed significantly over the past 2.5 billion years.
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Smallest diamonds used to make electrical wires three atoms wide

Researchers have devised a way to use the smallest possible bits of diamond to put various types of atoms together Lego-style into the thinnest possible electrical wires just three atoms wide.
The new technique, reported in Nature Materials, could potentially be used to build tiny wires for a wide range of applications, including fabrics that generate electricity, optoelectronic devices that employ both electricity and light, and superconducting materials that conduct electricity without any loss.

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Scientists reveal how world's biggest diamonds form

Scientists claimed they have figured out how the world's biggest and most-valuable diamonds formed.
In a study published this week in the U.S. journal Science, they said large gem-quality diamonds, like the world-famous Cullinan or Lesotho Promise, may be born in metallic liquid deep inside Earth's mantle.
The research team, led by Evan Smith of the Gemological Institute of America, reached the conclusion after examining so-called "offcuts" of massive diamonds, which are the pieces left over after the gem's facets are cut for maximum sparkle.

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'Superdeep' diamonds provide new insight into earth's carbon cycle

Researchers at the University of Bristol have discovered new insights into previously hidden parts of the earth's carbon cycle. The team found that carbon recycling extends into the deep mantle by plate subduction, but is still primarily constrained to upper mantle depths, above 700km.
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First Synthetic Diamond 1955

Synth Diamonds first created in Schenectady, New York in 1954 by Tracy Hall. C. Guy Suits made the announcement to the world in New York City.



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Back in the 1950s the scientists from General Electric were not the only ones trying to make diamonds. Unknown to them, in a magnificent old hunting palace on the outskirts of Stockholm, the Swedish electrical company ASEA had already been funding an eccentric independent scientist called Baltzar von Platen to look into making diamonds.
On February 16th 1953, nearly a year before General Electric, Erik Lundblad ran the high pressure press at 83,000 atmospheres and about 2000C for a full hour. On unwrapping the carbon parcel, he was astonished - he found diamond crystals, no bigger than grains of sand. Unfortunately for Von Platen, ASEA decided to keep the experiment a secret in case a competitor stole their secret, and the experiment was not duplicated or published - a condition of recognition for scientific inventions - until after General Electric's announcement.

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Diamond quantum number generator: a gem for secure encryption

Faced with the baffling randomness of quantum mechanical theory a half-century ago, Albert Einstein famously argued that God wouldn't play dice with the universe. Yet in the depths of a building on Sussex Drive in Ottawa, a team of NRC physicists is now rolling "cosmic dice" fast and furiously.
Firing a very rapidly pulsing high-intensity laser through a thin pane of diamond about a millimetre square, their experimental equipment detects "quantum mechanical fluctuations" - random movements and flashes of light at the molecular level - from the diamond's carbon lattice, to generate truly random numbers.

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New form of superhard carbon observed

Carbon is the fourth-most-abundant element in the universe and takes on a wide variety of forms, called allotropes, including diamond and graphite. Scientists at Carnegie's Geophysical Laboratory are part of a team that has discovered a new form of carbon, which is capable of withstanding extreme pressure stresses that were previously observed only in diamond. This breakthrough discovery will be published in Physical Review Letters.
The team was led by Stanford's Wendy L. Mao and her graduate student Yu Lin and includes Carnegie's Ho-kwang (Dave) Mao, Li Zhang, Paul Chow, Yuming Xiao, Maria Baldini, and Jinfu Shu. The experiment started with a form of carbon called glassy carbon, which was first synthesised in the 1950s, and was found to combine desirable properties of glasses and ceramics with those of graphite. The team created the new carbon allotrope by compressing glassy carbon to above 400,000 times normal atmospheric pressure.

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Diamond disappears in sunlight

It might be among the hardest materials known, but place a diamond in a patch of sunlight and it will start to lose atoms, say a team of physicists in Australia. The rate of loss won't significantly trouble tiara wearers or damage diamond rings, but the discovery could prove a boon for researchers working to tap diamond's exceptional optical and electronic properties.
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New diamond that is lighter than ever created

Livermore researchers have created a nanocyrstalline diamond aerogel that could improve the optics for something as big as a telescope or as small as the lenses in eyeglasses.
Aerogels are a class of materials that exhibit the lowest density, thermal conductivity, refractive index and sound velocity of any bulk solid.
By combining high pressure with high temperature, a Livermore team created a diamond aerogel from a standard carbon-based aerogel precursor using a laser-heated diamond anvil cell.

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