Diamonds Are Nanotech's Best Friend
World's Strongest Material Now Bendable
Researchers have been able to bend and stretch the strongest of all natural materials, diamonds. The international team led by Dao Ming of MIT showed that narrow diamond needles, similar in shape to rubber tips on toothbrushes, could flex and stretch by as much as 9% without breaking. These narrow diamond needles are just a few 100 nanometers across. The team was able to bend them like rubber and let them snap back to their original shape. That's an important first.
Significance and Importance
The importance of this breakthrough is the potential multi-uses. The door is now open to a variety of diamond based devices for future electronics, drug delivery directly into cells, data storage where lasers could encode data into diamonds. Also MRI imaging far more accurate, sensing, optoelectroncs and biocompatible in vivo imaging. That's just to name a few.
Unique Breakthrough and Approach
The team developed a unique nanomechanical approach to precisely control and quantify the ultra-large elastic strain distributed in the nano-diamond samples. They used an electron microscope to video the process real time and used a diamond probe to pressure the sides of the diamond nano-needles. They then used a special process called chemical vapour deposition to etch them into final shape. Bottom-line, it worked and resulted in bendable, stretchable diamonds. It's diamond tech innovation on the cutting edge.