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This Diamond Is Harder Than Any You’ve Ever Seen

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It’s “much harder than regular diamonds.”

Scientists have created a diamond that’s likely harder than any a jeweler would encounter.

The nanosized Lonsdaleite is a hexagonal diamond found in nature only at the site of meteorite impacts such as Canyon Diablo in the U.S., according to a press release from the Australian National University.

It will be “useful for cutting through ultra-solid materials on mining sites,” according to ANU.

“This new diamond is not going to be on any engagement rings,” said Jodie Bradby, an associate professor from the university’s Research School of Physics and Engineering. “You’ll more likely find it on a mining site – but I still think that diamonds are a scientist’s best friend. Any time you need a super-hard material to cut something, this new diamond has the potential to do it more easily and more quickly.”

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The Lonsdaleite was created by Bradby and her team, which included doctoral student Thomas Shiell and experts from RMIT, the University of Sydney and the U.S. 

The team made the Lonsdaleite in a diamond anvil at 400 degrees Celsius, halving the temperature at which it can be formed in a laboratory.

“The hexagonal structure of this diamond’s atoms makes it much harder than regular diamonds, which have a cubic structure,” Bradby said. “We’ve been able to make it at the nanoscale and this is exciting because often with these materials ‘smaller is stronger.'”

Lonsdaleite is named after the famous British pioneering female crystallographer Dame Kathleen Lonsdale, who was the first woman elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society.

The research is published in Scientific Reports.

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