New techniques to create perfect diamonds cheaply and quickly lead the way to newer and greater discoveries.
For thousands of years, alchemists tried to find ways to turn lead or other substances into gold to no avail. Apparently, it’s not that easy to convert one base element to another [Note 1]. However, gems created through natural processes seem to be a different story, as apparently cheap methane and hydrogen can in fact be processed to create perfect DIAMONDS, which are worth far more than gold! The process to create pure diamonds is relatively simpler than you could ever imagine, and companies seem to have finally discovered not only how to make perfect diamonds very cheaply, but also very quickly. And we’re not talking about cubic zirconiums or other diamond substitutes. These diamonds are so perfect that they even have the exact molecular structure of mined diamonds. In fact, a mined diamond’s imperfection may soon be its only distinguishing feature!
Now, granted, the benefits of finally dethrowning the De Beers are undeniable and one small way to contribute to world peace. But what is even more fascinating than being able to buy your loved one a perfect diamond ring at a reduced price [Note 2] are the many ways that perfect inexpensive mass-produced diamonds can revolutionize and revitalize the world in ways we may not even yet be able to conceive. The process used to create real diamonds of such perfect quality is known as chemical vapor deposition, or CVD. The technique was finally perfected by a company called Apollo, and uses a combination of carbon gases, temperature and pressure to make diamonds so pure that they can even be used to make diamond wafers, much like silicon wafers for computer chips. The CVD process can be tweaked by putting in enough boron to allow the diamond to conduct a current. That turns the diamond into a semiconductor.
Within 10 years new computers will likely be running on diamond-based processors. Because a diamond can withstand up to 1300 degrees-F (versus 250 degrees-F for silicon semiconductors), diamond-based semiconductors will be able to achieve speeds of over 80 Gigahertz without using complex cooling mechanisms! (currently, silicon tops out around 10 GHz). Also, because of a diamond’s heat conductivity and chemical stability, diamond lenses can transmit much sharper laser beams at higher temperatures. Diamonds are the hardest material, they won’t expand in heat, they won’t wear, they’re chemically inert and optically transparent. Because of these qualities, the list of possibilities for cheap pure diamonds is endless.
Unfortunately, the companies involved in making these diamonds are all still private, but keep an eye out for new companies leveraging the power of mass-produced pure diamonds to create new products and product categories never before imagined possible.
Note 1: Ironically, and interestingly enough, over the past thirty years the price of lead has appreciated much more than gold.
Note 2: There are still some issues with CVD diamonds for jewelry, such as requiring the expensive HPHT (High Pressure-High Temperature) process (used by companies such as Gemesis to make yellow diamonds) to remove a brownish to grey tint that appears. See links below for more details.
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