Scientists create Nano-diamonds which last only for seconds

Researchers at Rice University in the US accidentally created microscopic diamonds from coal which exist only for some seconds.  Scientists witnessed this intriguing effect while working on ways to chemically reduce carbon from anthracite coal and make it soluble. They used a powerful electron beam for the purpose knocking the hydrogen atoms off the coal. Surprisingly, the energy input brought clusters of hydrogenated carbon atoms together, some of which transformed into the lattice-like structure of nano-diamonds. Even without the kind of pressure needed to make macroscale diamonds, the energy knocked loose hydrogen atoms to kick off a chain reaction between layers of graphite in the coal that resulted in diamonds between 2 and 10 nanometres wide.
But the most of the nanodiamonds were seen to fade away under the power of the electron beam in a succession of images taken over 30 seconds. The small diamonds are not stable and they revert to the starting material, the anthracite.



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