Korean Scientists Unveil Superfast Diamond Production Method

In MAY, if you order a Korean cheese bun you may or may not get it in 15 minutes. But South Korean scientists have developed a super-fast method for producing diamonds in 15 minutes.

South Korean researchers have developed a revolutionary technique for producing diamonds in a lab under regular pressure within a mere 15 minutes. Traditionally, diamonds form under intense pressure and temperature, contributing to their high value. However, this new method, pioneered by scientists from the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) and the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea, employs a liquid metal alloy comprising gallium, iron, nickel, and silicon.

In this process, a 9-liter (2.4-gallon) tank containing the metal mix is exposed to methane and hydrogen gas at a temperature of 1,025 °C (1,877 °F). After 15 minutes, the gas is removed from the system, leaving a diamond film on the tank’s bottom. Notably, this diamond film can be effortlessly detached and utilized for various studies or immediate applications. This innovative approach holds promise for transforming diamond production, offering a quicker and more accessible alternative to conventional methods.

In the conventional methods of synthesizing diamonds, “seed particles” are typically necessary to provide a foundation for the initial carbon atoms to adhere to and eventually form a diamond. However, in this innovative technique, the presence of trace amounts of silicon in the liquid metal aids in the clustering of carbon atoms, resulting in the production of exceptionally pure diamonds. While the other metals in the alloy are interchangeable, silicon appears to be indispensable to the process.

The diamond crystalline structure of the synthesized diamonds was confirmed through the application of Raman spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction. Researchers observed that diamond nucleation and growth primarily occurred at the center of the reaction vessel, where a slight temperature gradient existed. Here, carbon atoms rapidly accumulated and stacked upon each other to form the diamond structure.

After conducting numerous experimental trials of varying durations, researchers determined that diamond formation initiated between 10 and 15 minutes, a significant improvement over the 12-day timeframe required by the traditional high-pressure high-temperature (HPTP) method. Additionally, diamond growth continued until approximately 150 minutes before reaching a plateau.

This groundbreaking discovery represents a significant advancement, particularly because it achieves diamond synthesis at ambient pressure. While not perfect, it introduces a novel approach to diamond production. Korean scientists suggest refining the method by exploring different metal combinations.

Future research will investigate alternative liquid metal alloys, gases, and solid carbons for diamond synthesis. While immediate use for jewelry is unlikely, industrial applications could benefit sooner.