Diamonds are forever, even artificial ones

04 July 2016

Academics from Aberystwyth University’s Physics Department will today travel to London to present innovative research on synthetic diamonds and how they can be used in a variety of ways to support our daily activities.

University scientists from across the UK have been researching the extreme properties of man-made diamond in exciting new technologies and developing diamond based solutions for engineering, electronics, sensing and biomedical industries.

They will present their research at the Royal Society’s annual Summer Science Exhibition which opens to the public officially tomorrow (5 July 2016). 

Professor Andrew Evans is leading the delegation from Aberystwyth: “This research is made possible due to the special arrangement of carbon atoms in diamond which gives rise to its amazing properties.”

“As well as being the hardest bulk material known to man, it allows both heat and sound to travel through it faster than through any other material and as a result can be used to remove heat from electrical devices and to transmit clear sound in audio systems”

“By growing diamond in the lab, its properties can be manipulated to our advantage. Research is becoming increasingly prevalent in this field, with a variety of industries recognising the vast potential of diamond as a material for engineering and scientific applications. Our technical team at Aberystwyth have built a model of the diamond crystal that lights up to show how we can control the colour and electrical conduction by changing where the atoms sit”

Professor Julie Macpherson, University of Warwick, added: “When people think of diamond, they often think of sparkling jewellery. We aim to challenge that view, showing that diamond can be much more than just a gemstone.”

Visitors to the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition will be able to get their hands on synthetic diamond, discovering the amazing properties of diamond including its thermal conductivity (cutting ice with diamond), exploring how, by changing the diamond growth recipe, diamond can be made to conduct electricity, sensing the earth’s magnetic field, as well as having the opportunity to make their own ‘diamond’.

The Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition is a weeklong festival of cutting edge science from across the UK, featuring 22 exhibits which give a glimpse into the future of science and technology. Entrance is free.