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一月 2017

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Diamonds in Other Industries: Beyond Jewelry

By Sarine Staff

Today, diamonds are giving the fields of mathematics and science a new makeover. With advanced research into the properties of diamonds, their use in other industries is constantly increasing.  More affordable, synthetic diamonds make industrial diamonds an affordable option for industrial use. Moreover, the diverse properties of diamonds, including low acoustic absorption, high electromechanical coupling coefficient and a high speed of sound, also make them useful for different types of research.

The Science of Diamonds

In the future, diamond crystal-based structures may be used as high sensitivity sensors to detect pressure, acceleration, temperature, and the thickness of ultra-thin films. Experts hope that using diamonds in acoustics and electronics, as well as using diamonds in other industries, can lead to exciting discoveries within those fields that were never previously possible.

And just as diamonds are helpful in creating new discoveries in science, science is helpful in creating new diamonds. Specialized diamond crystals are created in a lab using a chemical process. In this process, the chemical vapor deposition uses a tiny flat “seed” diamond as the basis for a new diamond. New diamond material is then deposited on top of the seed, layer by layer, until a larger diamond is formed. The larger diamond is then sold to labs and companies to be used in the creation of semiconductors. Current semiconductors, which use a silicon base are fine for smaller electronics, but have faced thermal conduction problems in new, more sophisticated electronic devices. Combining the silicon with diamond has solved this problem.

The Hidden Diamond of the Electronics Market

The electronics market continuously expands as technology becomes more and more dominant in today’s culture. Whether in the workplace, across multiple industries, or for leisure, in personal computers, mobile phones, tablets, wearables and more, electronics is a booming industry. Currently, electronic devices are possible thanks to controlling the movement of electrons from place to place, using electronic fields that are strong, fast and local. Yet it is difficult to find materials that have an electronic field which mimics the effects of a magnetic field, in order to control spin while still working at room temperature.

In an effort to solve this problem, researchers created magnetic micro-disks containing no north or south poles, but instead magnetize into a vortex. Diamond nano-particles are used inside the vortex, which then traps individual spins inside defects found within the diamonds called nitrogen vacancies.

Machining with Diamonds

Previously diamonds were an ineffective tool for cutting steel due to their reaction with iron. However, new research has found that the combination of diamond with cubic boron nitride crystals, a man made material considered the second strongest substance after diamonds, can create a unique machining tool that will be viable for use on substances containing iron. Diamonds have also long been used in a variety of other fields, such as construction, machinery and dentistry.

As research develops and improves, the variety of uses for diamonds in industry will also increase. And thanks to new methods of synthetic diamond creation, the cost of producing industrial diamonds in a lab is going down – and availability of diamonds is on the way up. As we move into the future, it is highly likely that we will see diamonds used in an even wider range of industries far beyond the realms of the fashion runways and romantic proposals.

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