Studying diamonds inside ancient meteorites, scientists discovered a strange and intriguing microscopic structure that had never been seen before.
The structure, an interconnected form of graphite and diamond, has unique properties that could one day be used for ultra-fast charging or for developing new types of electronics, the researchers say.
The diamond structure is sealed within the Canyon Diablo meteorite, which struck Earth 50,000 years ago and was first discovered in Arizona in 1891. The diamonds in this meteorite are not of the type that most people know. most famous diamond Make About 90 miles (150 kilometers) below Earth’s surface, temperatures exceed 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1093 degrees Celsius). This Carbon nuclear Inside these diamonds are arranged in a cube shape.
In contrast, the diamond in the Canyon Diablo meteorite is known as Lonsdaleite – named after British crystallologist Dame Kathleen Lonsdale, the first female professor at University College London – and has a hexagonal crystal structure. These diamonds are formed only under very strong pressure and Temperature, Scientists have however succeeded in creating lonsdaleite in the laboratory – using gunpowder and compressed air to propel graphite discs at 15,000 mph. ,24100 km/h, On the wall – Lonsdelight is formed in another way only when small star he killed land at a very high speed.
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While studying Lonsdaleite in meteorites, researchers discovered something strange. The researchers found a growth of another carbon-based material called graphene, entangled with diamond, instead of a pure hexagonal structure. This increase is known as Tough (opens in new tab)And inside meteorites, they form a very interesting pattern of layers. There are “stacking faults” between these layers, which means the layers don’t align perfectly, the researchers said. Statement (opens in new tab),
The discovery of grains in the Lonsdaleite meteorite suggests that this material may be found in other carbonaceous materials, the scientists wrote in the study, meaning it may be available for use as a source. The discovery also gives researchers a better understanding of the pressure and temperature needed to build the structure.
Graphene consists of sheets of carbon that are one atom thick, arranged in a hexagonal shape. Although research on this material is still ongoing, it has many potential applications. For light as a feather and strong as a diamond; transparent and highly conductive; and 1 million times thinner human hair (opens in new tab)Researchers say they could one day be used for more targeted drugs, smaller electronics with lightning-fast charging speeds, or faster, more penetrating technologies.
Now that researchers have discovered this growth of graphene inside meteorites, it is possible to learn more about how it formed – and thus how it was made in the laboratory.
Christoph Salzmann, a chemist at University College London, said, “Through the controlled development of structural layers, it should be possible to design materials that are both extremely rigid and flexible, and whose electronic properties can be modified from conductor to insulator. ” and co-author of a research paper describing the tracing, He said in his statement (opens in new tab),
Weird new structure revealed July 22 in the magazine Proceeding National Academy of Sciences (opens in new tab),
Originally published in Live Science.