Melbourne, Dec 13 Scientists have created synthetic diamonds that are harder than the regular ones and may help cut through ultra-solid materials on mining sites.
Nano-sized Lonsdaleite is a hexagonal diamond only found in nature at the site of meteorite impacts.
"This new diamond is not going to be on any engagement rings. You'll more likely find it on a mining site - but I still think that diamonds are a scientist's best friend," said Jodie Bradby, associate professor at Australian National University (ANU).
"Any time you need a super-hard material to cut something, this new diamond has the potential to do it more easily and more quickly," said Bradby.
Researchers made the Lonsdaleite in a diamond anvil at 400 degrees Celsius, halving the temperature at which it can be formed in a laboratory.
"The hexagonal structure of this diamond's atoms makes it much harder than regular diamonds, which have a cubic structure. We've been able to make it at the nanoscale and this is exciting because often with these materials 'smaller is stronger'," said Bradby.