Harder than diamond: Aggregated diamond nanorods

From PhysicsWeb: “Physicists in Germany have created a material that is harder than diamond. Natalia Dubrovinskaia and colleagues at the University of Bayreuth made the new material by subjecting carbon-60 molecules to immense pressures. The new form of carbon, which is known as aggregated diamond nanorods, is expected to have many industrial applications (App. Phys. Lett. 87 083106).

“The hardness of a material is measured by its isothermal bulk modulus. Aggregated diamond nanorods have a modulus of 491 gigapascals (GPa), compared with 442 GPa for conventional diamond. Dubrovinskaia and two of her co-workers – Leonid Dubrovinky and Falko Langenhorst – have patented the process used to make the new material.

“Diamond derives its hardness from the fact that each carbon atom is connected to four other atoms by strong covalent bonds. The new material is different in that it is made of tiny interlocking diamond rods. Each rod is a crystal that has a diameter of between 5 and 20 nanometres and a length of about 1 micron.

“The group created the ADNRs by compressing the carbon-60 molecules to 20 GPa, which is nearly 200,000 times atmospheric pressure, while simultaneously heating to 2500 Kelvin.”

From CORDIS: “Dr Dubrovinskaia and two of her colleagues have patented the process used to make the new material. ‘We have developed a concept for innovative technology to produce the novel material in industrial-scale quantities and now we are looking for partners in order to realise our ideas,’ she said.”

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