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plastic diamonds? New scientific discoveries – science you like

plastic diamonds?  New scientific discoveries - science you like

Estimated time: 3 minutes

Using a sample of the same plastic used to make a drink bottle, scientists have created highly microorganisms. They treated the sample with a powerful laser and examined it with X-rays. Scientists suggest that diamonds can form inside ice giants such as Neptune and Uranus.

How are plastic diamonds made?

In their study, the scientists directed a laser beam at a plastic sample. Regular PET plastic was used, such as polyethylene terephthalate (C10H8O4)n. Each laser pulse travels through the plastic, increasing the pressure and temperature inside.

Diamond formation is observed at pressures in the range of 70-125 GPa and a temperature of 3500-6000 K. Structural X-ray and small-angle X-ray scattering techniques were used to observe the transformation results. Thanks to this, insights into the reaction kinetics were obtained and diamond production was confirmed, i.e. crystals with the appropriate crystal system were found..

“After the sample is subjected to pressure of nearly a million Earth’s atmosphere and heated to thousands of degrees Celsius, nanodiamonds are formed in it.”

Physicist Dominic Krause and colleagues say in the journal Science Advances..

The idea of ​​producing diamonds in this way seems very simple. Currently, explosion-based methods are used to produce nanodiamonds, but such processes are difficult to control. The technique used in the study allows the creation of nanodiamonds that are more suitable for specific applications. It is assumed that they can be used in diamond-based quantum devices with defects, for example nitrogen atoms replacing carbon atoms.

Why did the scientists conduct the experiment? Uranus-like conditions

Although producing diamonds in the lab is very interesting, it was not the scientists’ goal in and of itself. Through their experiment, they wanted to learn more about the chemical reactions that take place inside distant planets.

What is the relationship of the laboratory experiment to the farthest regions of the solar system? Ice giants like Neptune and Uranus have similar temperatures, pressures, and combinations of elements to the materials used in the experiment.

The conditions on the surface of the ice giants are so extreme that there is a specific chemistry for the structural changes. Until now, scientists have produced diamonds in a similar way by simulating conditions on ice giants, but they have used hydrocarbons for this.

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There are too many giants like Neptune and Uranus in our galaxy. The interior of these celestial bodies is believed to consist primarily of a thick liquid mixture of water, methane, and ammonia. Because of the high pressures and temperatures deep within these planets, the mixture of matter is likely to undergo chemical reactions and structural changes such as hydrocarbon dissociation and phase separation allowing the formation of diamond and possibly metallic hydrogen or super water.

The presence of different chemical compounds with different thermal or magnetic properties affects the occurrence and shape of the magnetosphere around the planet. Scientists are very curious to explain the asymmetry of the unusual magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune.

What else do we know about ice giants? The main role of oxygen

In order to obtain more conclusions about the processes occurring in the ice giants, the presence of water, and therefore large amounts of oxygen, must be taken into account. C-H-O sampling provides a more realistic scenario than testing pure hydrocarbon or water systems.

See also: Cosmic crystals on Earth

PET contains oxygen in addition to hydrogen and carbon. It has a chemical composition similar to that of ice giants. Oxygen in this case appears to be involved in the formation of diamonds. The observed separation of carbon from water indicates that oxygen enhances the phenomenon of diamond precipitation in ice giants. This could lead to the sequestration of water and the formation of super-ionized structures that affect the planet’s magnetic fields.



Camila Rajfor

I am mainly fascinated by the latest developments in nanotechnology, but to the amazement of my child I also noticed scientific discoveries in other areas. She graduated in Technical Physics at the Faculty of Fundamental Problems of Technology at the Wrocław University of Technology. I love sailing, especially against the wind, and discovering Poland piece by piece. Books and puzzles earn from homework.

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