Scientists from Stanford University (USA) have successfully tested a new method for producing synthetic diamonds, which promises to significantly reduce the cost of this extremely useful material. They initially set the goal of creating a "clean system" where the starting material is converted into diamond without the use of catalysts and complex processing processes. And they succeeded, but they had to sacrifice the scale of the process - the volume of synthesized diamonds so far does not even match the concept of "symbolic".
Waste from crude oil tanks and dried hydrocarbon films became the subject of attention of scientists. It turned out that at the atomic level among them there are many blocks of several cells, in which the structure of the atomic lattice is identical to that that forms diamond crystals. But these blocks are tiny and scattered, they are rubbish, not material. In addition, they are "stained" with hydrogen, which weakens the bonds, depriving them of their strength.
Stanford physicists called these formations "diamondoids", after which they began to place them on a diamond anvil and irradiate them with a laser under high pressure. A minimum of energy was spent, diamondoids were heated to only 627 ° C, but this was enough to remove hydrogen from them. Carbon atoms formed new bonds and turned into a full-fledged diamond - albeit very, very tiny.
There is no benefit from such "diamond spots", as they were ironically called at the university, but the technology itself has great potential. In many industries, it is not the large synthetic diamonds themselves that are needed, but the components made from them, such as protective coatings or dotted inclusions. And such items, very small, but possessing all the properties of real diamonds, and also cheap to manufacture, can become a serious catalyst for our technological progress.