Single-crystal diamonds produced at the Geophysical Laboratory are traveling with a major museum exhibit called the Nature of Diamonds. The display focuses on the beauty of diamonds, their geological origins, and the science of diamond. The Nature of Diamonds opened in October 2008 at the Royal Ontario Museum and has been on display since October 2009 at the Field Museum in Chicago. After closing at the Field Museum on March 28, 2010, the exhibit will move to Singapore.

The gas-to-gem diamonds made by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) were both grown and polished at Carnegie. They have surprised the curators at the American Museum of Natural History, the organizers of the exhibit. The curators expected to see crude diamond materials or thin plates, not "brilliant" gems that the Geophysical Laboratory can now produce. The diamonds are produced for high pressure research, which require purer, stronger, and larger crystals than can be found in nature.

The Carnegie diamonds can be fabricated to possess optical characteristics at least comparable to conventional diamond anvils used for high pressure research. A special “diamond sandwich,” called an anvil cell, is even being used in extreme-pressure experiments to study dense matter and the nature of planet interiors—from mimicking Earth’s core to producing solid hydrogen. But the single-crystal CVD is more durable because of its enhanced toughness [1, 2].

The new generation of diamonds posses extraordinary optical, mechanical and electrical properties and will impact science and technology profoundly. The exceptional semiconductor properties of single-crystal diamond have enormous potential for high -power electronics used in the transportation, manufacturing, and energy sectors. They can also significantly expand the range of applications of optical materials required for 3rd and 4th generation synchrotrons, free-electron lasers, and advanced neutron spallation sources.














[1] Q. Liang, C.S. Yan, Y. Meng, J. Lai, S. Krasnicki, H.K Mao, R.J. Hemley “Recent advances in high-growth rate single-crystal CVD diamond” Diamond & Related Material 18, 698-703 (2009).
[2] C.S. Zha, S. Krasnicki, Y.F. Meng, C.S. Yan, J. Lai, Q. Liang, H.K. Mao, R.J. Hemley “Composite chemical vapor deposition diamond anvils for high-pressure/high-temperature experiments” High Pressure Research,  29, 317-324 (2009).

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