London, Nov 12 : Mexican scientists have come found a new use for the country's national drink, tequila: turning it into diamonds!
And are seeking ways to use their discovery as the crystals are too small to be used in jewellery. The tequila diamonds can be used to "detect radiation, coat cutting tools or, above all, as a substitute for silicon in the computer chips of the future," according to Miguel Apatiga, one of three researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico who made the discovery.
They boffins found that the heated vapour from tequila blanco, when deposited on a stainless steel base, can form diamond films.
They began experimenting some 13 years ago with synthetic diamonds - made by a technological process, as opposed to natural diamonds, produced by geological process - from gases like methane.
The research team later produced diamonds from liquids, and then noticed that the ideal compound of 40 per cent ethanol and 60 per cent water was similar to the proportion used in tequila.
"One day I went to the campus shop and bought a bottle of cheap tequila. I used it under the same experiment conditions as for a test with ethanol and water and obtained positive results," the Telegraph quoted Apatiga, as saying.
The diamonds formed were small crystals, too tiny to be used in jewellery.
"It would be very difficult to obtain diamonds for a ring," he added.
But the scientists are now investigating other applications for tequila diamonds.
"It's true that the fact it's tequila has a certain charm. It's a Mexican product and Mexican researchers developed the project ... but a businessman can say to me: 'Great, how pretty! But how can I use it?'" Apatiga said.