Scientists are growing something really special in the labs at The Australian National University: a diamond! But this is no ordinary diamond. Instead of being cut and used in jewelry, this diamond (named Lonsdaleite after the famous female crystallographer Dame Kathleen Lonsdale) is extraordinarily hard and will be used for cutting through rock and other materials on mining sites. Lonsdaleite’s atoms are formed in a hexagonal structure, whereas regular diamonds have cubic atomic structures. This makes it much harder than the diamonds used in jewelry, and the perfect cutting tool. The diamond was discovered by accident by Professor David McKenzie when he noticed something sticking out of the side of one of his experiments.
It’s easy to forget that diamonds are not just prized for their looks but also for their incredible strength, and are used every day to mine and explore deep into the earth’s crust. But who knows, maybe someday these diamonds will find their way into some truly unique jewelry!
Want to learn more? Visit https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161212101116.htm
December 15, 2016