The starting material in the experiments was a so-called fullerene: carbon, in which 60 carbon atoms in pentagons? and? hexagons? strung together so that they give a hollow, spherical structure, similar to a football. The fullerene mixed the researchers with m-xylene, the meta-form of the aromatic hydrocarbon xylene. m-xylene is a colorless liquid that often acts as a solvent. This fabric sat down in the spaces between the "fullerene balls". Scientists are now applying pressure to see how the mixture behaves.
At low pressure, the ball structures did not change, but at elevated pressure, the overall picture changed significantly: At approximately 35 gigapascals, the fullerene balls collapsed and formed partially amorphous structures. This end product now revealed a spectacular feature: it's harder than diamond. The final proof was provided by the scientists that they could impress diamonds with the new carbon material.
"We've created a new kind of carbon material that's comparable to diamond, because it can not be compressed as well, " Wang explains. ? Once the material has been produced under extreme pressure, it can also exist under normal conditions, meaning that it can be used for a variety of practical applications.? displayLin Wang (Carnegie Institution of Washington) et al .: Science; doi: 10.1126 / science.1220522 © science.de - Gesa Seidel