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The stability of tiny diamonds.

The stability of tiny diamonds

Microscopic diamonds, too small to be detected readily, may be far more common than scientists think, say researchers from the University of South Africa in Pretoria and the Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory. According to their calculations, reprted in the Jan. 18 NATURE, diamonds smaller than about 3 nanometers in diameter appear to be more stable than comparable hexagonal networks of carbon atoms, from which graphite forms.

These results provide an explanation for the surprising abundance of tiny diamonds in the sooty residue of explosions, indicating that simple chemical processes can create diamonds. The calcuations suggest that neither high pressures nor extreme temperatures are need to produce such small diamonds. Diamonds of a similar size are also found in meteorites (SN: 3/14/87, p.166).
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Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 3, 1990
Words:132
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