Diamond, one of the hardest materials in the world, can not only be broken, but also gently bent, changing its shape. This conclusion was reached by scientists led by Blake Regan from the University of Technology Sydney (Australia), studying materials at the nanoscale. However, they immediately faced new difficulties - diamonds with such sizes begin to behave unpredictably.
Bending a 20-nanometer-thick diamond needle was rather accidental, as scientists acted at random, taking the first steps to study the behavior of materials at the nanoscale. They used a scanning electron microscope as the main tool, the electrostatic pulse of which initiated the deformation process. It has been experimentally established that with a thickness of 20 nanometers, a diamond plate can be bent 90 degrees without destruction. And this process is probably reversible.
However, in repeated experiments, scientists were faced with the fact that similar diamond samples refused to bend. Or bent once, taking on a new rigid shape. Surface analysis revealed the dependence of the final shape of the diamond on the size of the fragment and the orientation of the crystals in it, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Therefore, scientists are in no hurry to declare that they have learned to bend diamonds, this is only a special case from a new vast field of science - deformation and changes in the physical properties of nanostructures under external influence.
Deformation of the diamond nano-needle