Cheap Diamonds May Be Around the Corner

Introducing Q-carbon.

…researchers are already claiming that Q-carbon is magnetic, electro-conductive, glows in the dark, is relatively inexpensive to make and has stolen the crown of “world’s hardest substance” from diamond.

What does that mean for us? Not much right now, but the process behind the creation of Q-carbon is more inexpensive. The lead researcher behind the new method had spend a long time attempting to find an inexpensive carbon to diamond conversion.

Here is how the process works:

The researchers created Q-carbon by starting with a thin plate of sapphire (other substrates, such as glass or a plastic polymer, will also work). Using a high-power laser beam, they coated the sapphire with amorphous carbon, a carbon form with no defined crystalline structure. They then hit the carbon with the laser again, raising its temperature to about 4,000 Kelvin, and then rapidly cooled, or quenched, the melted carbon. This stage of quenching is where “Q” in Q-carbon comes from. … “It will take something in the order of 15 minutes to create one carat of diamond,” Narayan told us. “But other applications will make a bigger impact.” Narayan says he envisages Q-carbon’s first useful application will be in creating “a diamond factory for nanoproducts” for use in drug delivery and industrial processes.

While it may have a limited use right now, Q-carbon has the potential to change the was synthetic diamonds are produced. As new applications are conceived the demand will further push the technology giving it a push to the next level.