New form of diamond

Posted July 1, 2005

I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but it sounds neat at least. Basically this group was examining materials shocked by meteorite impacts and discovered a mineral that laughed at the diamonds they were using to polish the samples. Upon further examination, the material seems to be a new form of diamond with a different (cubic) crystal structure that's even harder than the normal variety.

Carbon definitely is a highly interesting atom these days, and that's just in pure form: forget about the massive variety of organic compounds. You have buckyballs, nanotubes, lab-grown diamonds, and now even extra-super-hard varieties. Carbon is becoming tantalizingly close to revolutionizing a number of fields, from growing diamond wafers to replace silicon substrates in chips to (my favorite) making a superstrong cable for a space elevator. Certainly an atom to watch.