(ORDO NEWS) — A meteorite that fell to Earth 50,000 years ago hit with such force that a unique diamond was formed. Researchers believe that this event could mean a technological leap.
A study published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by University College London and some Hungarian colleagues found that the diamonds formed during the impact had “unique and exceptional properties.”
The meteorite the team explored was found in the Arizona desert in 1891.
The researchers say these structures can be targeted at advanced mechanical and electronic applications, giving us the ability to create materials that are not only superhard, but malleable, with tunable electronic properties.
Previously, it was thought that the meteorite consisted of a hexagonal diamond structure, but it turned out that it consists of a “nanostructured” diamond and crystalline “intergrowths” of two different minerals.
The structural units and complexity described in the samples can be found in a wide range of other carbonaceous materials produced by shock and static compression or vapor deposition, the scientists say.
“Through the controlled growth of layers of structures, it will be possible to create materials that are both superhard and ductile, as well as have adjustable electronic properties from conductor to insulator,” said study co-author Christoph Salzmann, a professor at the University of California.
“Thus, this opens the door to new carbon materials with exciting mechanical and electronic properties that could lead to new applications ranging from abrasives and electronics to nanomedicine and laser technology.”
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