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New diamond harder than ring bling

The researchers were able to make the Lonsdaleite in a diamond anvil at 400 degrees Celsius – halving the temperature at which it can be formed in a laboratory. The findings were published in the Nature journal’s “Scientific Reports”.

Corresponding author from the University of Sydney’s School of Physics, Professor David McKenzie, said as part of the research he had been doing the night shift in a United States laboratory when he noticed a little shoulder on the side of a peak.

“It didn’t mean all that much until we examined it later on in Melbourne and in Canberra – and we realised that it was something very, very different,” Professor McKenzie said.

Associate Professor Jodie Bradby from ANU said the hexagonal structure of the diamond’s atoms made it much harder than regular diamonds, which have a cubic structure.

“We’ve been able to make it at the nanoscale and this is exciting because often with these materials ‘smaller is stronger’,” Associate Professor Bradby said.

Source: The University of Sydney