Artificial diamonds are forever,
Sparkling on your little scalpel.
Unlike before they are shiner, and better:
And new Chemical Vapour Deposition method means they
Are also more defect free-ee.
OK...I'll stop and explain properly. A team at the Carnegie Institution have come up with a way of improving the artificial diamonds that are used in numerous applications, from surgical cutting edges to quantum computing. Artificial diamonds have been grown for ages, but can possess in-grown defects that have to be removed by annealing. To avoid "graphitising" and de-sparkling the diamonds, this high-temperature process has to be done at high pressures, which makes it expensive and limits diamond sizes.
The new process however uses chemical vapour deposition to grow the synthetic diamonds at low pressure (which results in "dirty" brown diamonds), and then the gems are annealed using a microwave plasma technique that heats them to around 2000K at pressures below atmospheric...turning them clear or pinky.
The result is rapidly-grown, low-defect, optical quality diamonds. Why should we care? Well for one thing one team member notes the technique may allow "kilocarat diamonds of high optical quality". Which is just cool. And for another: diamonds are used in many more applications than you may realise. [Physorg]