In nature, diamonds have been formed deep underground for billions of years. This process requires exceptionally high pressure and temperature exceeding 1000 ℃. However, the scientists managed to create an artificial diamond in the laboratory without heating it.
For the first time in history, an international team created two different types of diamond at room temperature in minutes.
There are many well-known forms of carbon with a graphite-like bond, including graphene, the thinnest material ever measured. But there are more than one type of carbon-based material with a diamond-like bond. In normal diamond, atoms are arranged in a cubic crystal structure. However, one can also arrange these carbon atoms so that they have a hexagonal crystal structure. This form of diamond is called lonsdaleite, after the Irish crystallographer and member of the Royal Society Kathleen Lonsdale, who studied the structure of carbon using X-rays.
Both lonsdale and ordinary diamond can be formed at room temperature in the laboratory simply by applying high pressure.
The results have been published in the journal Small.