Researchers Are Using X-Ray To Turn Plastic Into Diamonds

Researchers Are Using X-Ray To Turn Plastic Into Diamonds
Image By Aman Anand/ Fossbytes

Turning plastic into diamonds might sound like a science fiction plot to you. However, did you know that scientists have already figured out a way to do so? Unbelievable right? According to reports, researchers have turned plastic into diamonds using X-rays or highly-powered lasers.

The researchers zapped samples of PET, a common material used in plastic bottles, to generate intense heat and pressure, resulting in the formation of tiny diamonds that may naturally rain down on planets such as Uranus and Neptune.

Scientists turned plastics into Diamonds!

Researchers Are Using X-Ray To Turn Plastic Into Diamonds
Image: Unsplash

Scientists are constantly trying to create more ethically sourced options in the diamond market. However, a new method for creating diamonds in a laboratory is using laser beams to recycle plastic into diamonds. As we know, Diamonds are valued for their scarcity on Earth, but on other planets, they may appear as common as rocks.

Extreme pressure on ice giants like Uranus and Neptune is thought to compress elements like hydrogen and carbon, forming solid diamonds that fall through the atmosphere like rain. The researchers were inspired by studying ice giants such as Neptune and Uranus, where extreme weather conditions can result in diamonds raining down from the sky.

Hence they decided to make their lab-grown Diamonds. They did this by directing the world’s most powerful X-ray laser, LCLS, at hydrocarbon samples. This instantly heated them to temperatures of up to 6,000 °C (10,800 °F) and created powerful shock waves with pressures of a few million atmospheres.
Using X-ray probing, the researchers investigated a stoichiometric mixture of carbon and water by shock-compressing PET plastics.

After zapping thin-film PET samples with the LCLS, the researchers used two different imaging techniques to determine not only whether nanodiamonds formed but also how quickly and how large they grew. They discovered diamond densities of up to 3.87 grams per cubic cm.

Why PET plastics?

PET plastic, also known as resin code plastic No. 1, is a fairly recyclable clear plastic used to make items such as single-use drink bottles, peanut butter jars, and soap bottles. They discovered that oxygen is what helps form diamond precipitation by using various X-ray technologies. Most importantly, the researchers believe that laser-driven shock compression of PET plastics could result in nanodiamonds.

This study not only supports the hypothesis of diamond rain on ice giant planets but also demonstrates a new potential manufacturing technique for these tiny diamonds, which are used in industrial abrasives, polishing agents, and, perhaps one day, highly sensitive quantum sensors. What are your thoughts on this? Comment down below.

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