Q-carbon glows brighter in low light and is harder than diamonds
It is made by a laser pulse lasting 200 billionths of a second
Scientists have created a substance that blings even brighter than diamonds, but chances are you won’t wear it. You’ll take its byproducts as medicine instead.
It’s called Q-carbon, and researchers at North Carolina State University have made it by zapping a kind of loose carbon with a laser beam that lasts a fraction of a fraction of a blink of an eye – 200 nanoseconds.
That’s only 200 billionths of a second, but it’s enough to heat the carbon to about 3,700 degrees Celsius. That’s not far from double the heat many scientist say it took to make natural diamonds when they were formed a billion or more years ago.
Then the researchers let that carbon cool immediately, snapping its atoms into a special crystalline structure.
The result is a new substance that may have never existed on Earth before and has some unique properties.
The researchers published their results in the Journal of Applied Physics.
About that carbon
Carbon gets a lot of bad rap these days as a culprit of global warming. But that’s mostly carbon dioxide – carbon joined in a molecule with oxygen.
In its pure form, carbon is something very different altogether. It only exists in a few solid forms, which contrast sharply from one another because of how they are put together.
Got a pencil? Look at the “lead.” It’s not lead; it’s graphite, which is a solid form of pure carbon, a very common one.
When you’re writing, you can see how soft it is as it comes off onto the paper with ease.