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Material Harder Than Diamond Reportedly Created

By Jasper Nikki De La Cruz | Dec 03, 2015 09:59 PM EST

Diamond is the hardest known naturally occurring material in the world. However, a new substance is discovered by applying a physical process to carbon that should create a material much harder than diamond.

The Q-carbon is said to be developed by researchers at North Carolina State University. This material represents carbon's third phase or distinct alongside diamond and graphite. The Q-carbon should help the industry as well as the health sector.

"In 15 minutes, we can make a carat of diamonds," Jay Narayan, the lead scientist, said. Q-carbon processing involves short pulse of laser light onto carbon. This creates synthetic diamond seeds that yields gems. The amount of diamond is miniscule compared to the traditional industrial processes. Still, this material is easy to transport and maintain because it can be carried out to a room temperature and air pressure. This would make Q-carbon simple to reproduce on a large-scale method.

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Gem production is the least important part of Q-carbon. The application of the material across various industries should prove to be significant because of its magnetic, fluorescent and electroconductive properties.

Q-carbon is made by training a laser beam onto a piece of amorphous carbon for 200 nanoseconds. This makes the material hot at a very fast pace. The spot then undergoes quenching for it to cool, creating the Q-carbon material. It is not yet known if the Q-carbon is naturally occurring but it might be present in planet cores according to Mr. Narayan.

"If they are true, it will be very exciting news for the diamond research community," Wuyi Wang, the director of research and development at the Gemological Institute of America, said. As an expert on diamond geochemistry, Mr. Wang would like to confirm the findings and also added that the NC State University's journal is quite credible and that he trusts what the researchers say.

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