Diamonds. Known for being priceless stones and hard to scratch, they’ve been at the centre of jewellery for years due to their shine, price and resilience. This could all change soon though, thanks to Scientists from North Carolina State University who have just announced their newly created form of carbon, Q-Carbon.
Previously carbon could exist in two other forms, graphite and diamond. Q-carbon is unique in that it is ferromagnetic, meaning not only is it harder than diamonds, but when exposed to energy it begins to glow.
Q-Carbon has also been used to construct diamond structures at room temperature, a feat that was only ever possible in extreme heats (e.g. specialised furnaces and volcanos) and under immense pressure. While still requiring a temperature of 3,726 °C, a feat achieved by a single laser pulse, the heat is only needed for 200 nanoseconds before being cooled down.
With current films of Q-Carbon measuring between 20 and 500 nanometers thick the researchers have been able to adjust the created structures by changing the laser pulse’s properties or the substrate, a material where the reactions take place.
Jay Narayan, the lead author of several papers described the process and continued to say, “And it is all done at room temperature and at ambient atmosphere – we’re basically using a laser like the ones used for laser eye surgery. So, not only does this allow us to develop new applications, but the process itself is relatively inexpensive.”
With its strength and luminescent properties, imagine a phone screen made of Q-Carbon?
You can find the latest update into their research here.