Monday, May 20, 2024
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Paths to super diamonds explored by researchers

Creating super diamonds, scientifically known as eight-atom body-centered cubic (BC8) crystals, is a fascinating area of research with potential applications in various fields. Here’s a summary of the key points from the provided text:

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BC8 Crystals: BC8 is a distinct carbon phase, not identical to diamond but very similar. It is predicted to be stronger than diamond, exhibiting a 30% greater resistance to compression. This phase is believed to be stable under extreme pressures exceeding 10 million atmospheres, potentially found in the center of carbon-rich exoplanets.

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Research Motivation: Understanding BC8 is crucial for accurately modeling the interiors of carbon-rich exoplanets. The extreme conditions within these celestial bodies may give rise to structural forms of carbon, including diamond and BC8.

Properties and Stability: BC8 is a high-pressure phase of carbon, silicon, and germanium that can be recoverable to ambient conditions. It maintains a perfect tetrahedral nearest-neighbor shape like diamond but lacks diamond’s cleavage planes, potentially making it tougher.

Simulation and Predictions: Researchers conducted multi-million atomic molecular-dynamics simulations using advanced supercomputing techniques. They developed accurate machine-learning interatomic potential to describe atomic interactions under extreme conditions, predicting the extreme metastability of BC8 at very high pressures.

Experimental Challenges: Previous experiments have failed to synthesize and observe BC8 due to its narrow range of stability. The research identifies viable compression pathways to access this phase, potentially enabling its synthesis in the laboratory.

Future Directions: The team aims to explore theoretical pathways for BC8 synthesis using laser-based inertial confinement fusion research. They hope to one day grow BC8 super diamonds in the laboratory by synthesizing the phase and recovering a BC8 seed crystal back to ambient conditions.

Overall, this research represents an exciting endeavor to unlock the potential of BC8 crystals and advance our understanding of high-pressure carbon phases with implications for both fundamental science and practical applications.

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