Researchers find new phase of carbon, make diamond at room temperature

Nov 30, 2015

Researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered a new phase of solid carbon, called Q-carbon, which is distinct from the known phases of graphite and diamond. They have also developed a technique for using Q-carbon to make diamond-related structures at room temperature and at ambient atmospheric pressure in air.
Phases are distinct forms of the same material. Graphite is one of the solid phases of carbon; diamond is another.

“We’ve now created a third solid phase of carbon,” says Jay Narayan, the John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and lead author of three papers describing the work. “The only place it may be found in the natural world would be possibly in the core of some planets.”

Q-carbon has some unusual characteristics. For one thing, it is ferromagnetic – which other solid forms of carbon are not.
“We didn’t even think that was possible,” Narayan says.
In addition, Q-carbon is harder than diamond, and glows when exposed to even low levels of energy.

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2 comments on “Researchers find new phase of carbon, make diamond at room temperature

  • Planetary Paul
    Dec 1, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    I wants me some!

    You can do better than that!!!!
    The planet, 55 Cancri e, is located around 40 light years from Earth and has a mass eight times that of our planet. With that knowledge in mind, now picture a third of that mass being made up of graphite and diamond.

    “On this planet there would basically be a thin layer below the surface which will have both graphite and diamond,” lead author on the paper Nikku Madhusudhan told Universe Today. “But, below that there will be a thick layer (a third of the radius) with mostly diamond. For a large part the diamond will be like the diamond on Earth, except really, really pure. But at greater depths the diamond could also be in liquid form.” So once we’ve nailed warp drive and can hop over to the planet, expect the cost of diamonds to plummet significantly.

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