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Q-Carbon Harder than Diamonds: New Carbon Material Created in Lab

Image: Q-Carbon Harder than Diamonds: New Carbon Material Created in Lab
An official from the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) shows a pink diamond, a piece of jewellery seized by the Philippine government from former first lady Imelda Marcos, at the Central Bank headquarters in Manila on November 27, 2015. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty)

By    |   Friday, 04 Dec 2015 08:10 AM

Q-carbon, a new material that is reportedly harder and brighter than diamonds, has been created by scientists, but will more likely be used in the medical field long before it lands in jewelry cases.

Researchers from North Carolina State University created Q-carbon by heating loose carbon to 3,700 degrees Celsius with a laser beam for about 200 nanoseconds, noted CNN.

According to the details published in the Journal of Applied Physics, the carbon was then cooled immediately, and its atoms create a new crystalline structure.

"In summary, our results clearly show that diamond can be formed at ambient temperatures and atmospheric pressure in air from super undercooled state of carbon without any need for any catalysts and hydrogen to stabilize sp3 diamond bonding," researchers said in journal's report.

"Thus, amorphous state of carbon, laser parameters, and film substrate characteristics determines the temperature distribution and undercooling and plays a critical role in nucleation and growth of diamond," the report continued.

Jay Narayan, a professor of materials Science and engineering at North Carolina State, said in a university statement that Q-carbon is ferromagnetic, making it different from other solid forms of carbon.

"We didn't even think that was possible," Narayan said in the university statement. "Q-carbon's strength and low work-function – its willingness to release electrons – make it very promising for developing new electronic display technologies."

Narayan said in the North Carolina State statement that Q-carbons could be used to create nanoneedles, nanodots and large-area diamond films that can be used in drug delivery, industrial processes, high-temperature switches and power electronics.

"These diamond objects have a single-crystalline structure, making them stronger than polycrystalline materials," Narayan said. "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."

Narayan said in the North Carolina State statement, though, that there is still a lot to learn about the Q-carbon and how effective it will be.

"We can make Q-carbon films, and we're learning its properties, but we are still in the early stages of understanding how to manipulate it," Narayan to the university. "We know a lot about diamond, so we can make diamond nanodots. We don't yet know how to make Q-carbon nanodots or microneedles. That's something we're working on."

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Q-carbon, a new material that is reportedly harder and brighter than diamonds, has been created by scientists, but will more likely be used in the medical field long before it lands in jewelry cases.
q carbon, harder, diamonds
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2015-10-04
Friday, 04 Dec 2015 08:10 AM
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