The new form of carbon, which is known as aggregated diamond nanorods (ADNRs), is expected to have many industrial applications.
The hardness of a material is measured by its isothermal bulk modulus. Aggregated diamond nanorods have a modulus of 491 gigapascals (GPa), compared with 442 GPa for conventional diamond.
Dubrovinskaia and two of her co-workers – Leonid Dubrovinky and Falko Langenhorst – have patented the process used to make the new material.
Diamond derives its hardness from the fact that each carbon atom is connected to four other atoms by strong covalent bonds. The new material is different in that it is made of tiny interlocking diamond rods. Each rod is a crystal that has a diameter of between 5 and 20 nanometres and a length of about 1 micron.
The group created the ADNRs by compressing the carbon-60 molecules to 20 GPa, which is nearly 200 times atmospheric pressure, while simultaneously heating to 2500 Kelvin.
“The synthesis was possible due to a unique 5000-tonne multianvil press at Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Bayreuth that is capable of reaching pressures of 25 GPa and temperatures of 2700 K at the same time,” said Dubrovinskaia.
In addition to working out why the new material is so hard, the
More on the development can be found on PhysicsWeb.