Q-carbon harder than diamonds

Researchers at North Carolina State University have published a study confirming that they have developed a new form of carbon, which have dubbed Q-Carbon, and that is harder than diamonds.

As explained by the magazine Popular Science , the pure carbon can take a few forms. Is first graphite, in which carbon atoms forming thin films are aligned, and which serves for example to manufacture pencils and as precursor of graphene.

The other is a rigid network, a crystal, which is what we are made of diamonds. Scientists now confirm that they have created a new state of this chemical element.

“We have created a third phase of carbon, and the only place you could find would be at the core of some planets,” says Jay Narayan, chief investigator.

To make Q-carbon, carbon team has no structure on a hard surface (either sapphire, glass or plastic). Firing a laser against the amorphous carbon, scientists can transform it into a harder than diamond structure.

“We’ve now created a third solid phase of carbon,” Narayan, who authored three papers including one in the Journal of Applied Physics on the work with doctoral student Anagh Bhaumik, said in a statement. “The only place it may be found in the natural world would be possibly in the core of some planets.”


The new substance has another property: it is ferromagnetic. That means it can be magnetized and therefore could shine when exposed to electric currents, which could be useful for consumer applications such as TV screens, signs or lighting systems.

“This discovery opens a new chapter in synthesis and processing of nanodiamond and microdiamond for a variety of applications ranging from abrasive powders, novel catalytic properties, smart displays, myriads of biomedical and microelectronic, and nanoelectronic applications,” the researchers wrote in another study on the disocovery in the journal APL Materials.


For now, however, scientists are simply the new way to create diamonds in laboratories to use in other experiments.