El brillo comercial de los diamantes sintéticos
June 5, 2018 - Los diamantes sintéticos – fabricados con deposición química de vapor (CVD) – se forman en gas que contiene carbono en estado de plasma. Capas de átomos de carbono crean piedras químicamente idénticas a los diamantes extraídos de minas.
The first synthetic diamonds were made in Sweden in 1953 by a high pressure-high temperature process, literally a carbon-copy of nature.
In 1989, a technological leap was achieved when the Diamond Research Laboratory (DRL), later to become De Beers’ Element Six, completed diamond synthesis using a low-pressure CVD.
A diamond is one giant molecule of carbon atoms. Using CVD, diamond forms in a high-temperature plasma mix of hydrogen and methane, at very low pressures inside a vacuum chamber. An actual diamond crystal acts as a seed for diamond growth.
A fundamental problem of diamond synthesis is the allotropic nature of carbon itself. Different physical forms of the element include diamond, graphite and buckminsterfullerene or “buckyballs” -- graphite, not diamond, is the stable crystalline phase of carbon.
DRL’s breakthrough was the discovery of optimal gas mixtures and temperatures for diamond growth. By using a high supersaturation of atomic hydrogen, carbon atoms form three dimensional tetrahedral bonds of diamond as opposed to weaker bonds of graphite.
Apart from jewellery, synthetic diamond has commercial applications from oil and gas drilling to cutting-edge electronics. Synthetic diamond is a candidate material for quantum computing which performs operations that are not possible using computers that follow classical physics.
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