The Foundry Journal

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Lab Grown Diamond: A Superlative Material

Aug 01, 2015 BY Diamond Foundry IN Diamond Industry,

Like mined diamond, lab grown diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms. In particular, diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material. It’s absolute hardness is 140 times that of the next hardest material.

The hardness of diamond contributes to its suitability as a gemstone. Because it can only be scratched by other diamonds, it maintains its polish extremely well. Unlike many other gems, it is well-suited to daily wear because of its resistance to scratching—perhaps contributing to its popularity as the preferred gem in engagement or wedding rings, which are often worn every day.

Diamond is superlative in many ways

  • It is the hardest material on Earth, the least compressible, and the stiffest.
  • It is the best thermal conductor, with extremely low thermal expansion.
  • It is the densest crystal.
  • It is chemically & biologically inert and highly transparent from the deep UV to the far infrared light.
  • It is one of the few materials with a negative electron affinity.
  • It has the highest Debye frequency, one of the lowest electron-phonon coupling constants along with the shortest average bond length.
Mineral Mohs Relative Hardness Rosiwal Absolute Hardness
Talc 1 0.03
Gypsym 2 1.25
Calcite 3 4.5
Fluorite 4 5
Apatite 5 6.5
Orthoclase 6 37
Quartz 7 120
Topaz 8 175
Corundum 9 1,000
Diamond 10 140,000

Many technological applications are enabled singularly by diamond. As technology progresses, more and more advances will need to utilize one or the other extreme properties of diamond to enable such advances.

Relative to Silicon, diamond can run at 5x higher temperature without degrading in performance. It has 22x the heat transfer efficiency of Silicon, allowing it to be cooled easily. A thin piece of diamond can tolerate grid transmission level voltages. Diamond based semiconductor devices have been shown to deliver 1 million times the electrical current than Silicon based ones.

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