Light as air, glittering like a diamond
We know that diamonds are the hardest solid materials that we know, and a futuristic translucent material known as Aerogel are the softest. Scientists have decided to make a blend of futurism and this woman’s best friend.
The result is a diamond Aerogel, or the least thick diamond in the world and at the same time, probably one of the most valuable Aerogel ever made. Both materials have interesting properties and their connecting brings multiple benefits, such as optics, quantum computers and the development of new structures, says Popsci.com.
Aerogel looks a bit creepy and reminiscent of the cut piece of smoke, and the texture resembles to styrofoam. It is used for thermal insulation of the space suits, to stop the cosmic particles and even as thermal insulation in homes. Aerogel is made by the normal super-drying gel free liquids, and the resulting material was only slightly denser than the air contains 90 percent air, but retains the structure of hard and non-fluid gel components.
To make a diamond Aerogel, it is necessary to generate a huge pressure, but should be also taken care for the gel not to fall apart under the pressure. Peter J. Pauzauskie and his team of colleagues from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, however, the problem is solved in a way that the anvil chamber injected neon gas to keep the compactness of the gel under pressure. Thereafter, the gel was subjected to an amorphous hydrogen pressures between 22.5 and 25.5 gigapascal. In order to obtain normal synthetic diamond, it is necessary to create a pressure of 18 gigapascal.
The result is diffuse non-diamond structure, transparent and flexible, like plastic, but with the glow of a real diamond. Just that reflection is actually stronger and more stable than ordinary diamond and is very applicable as an optical guide information in the core of super quantum computers.