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Infographic: Commercial sparkle of man-made diamonds

  • Published at 04:24 pm June 6th, 2018
Diamonds are displayed during the International Diamond Week (IDW) in the Israeli town of Ramat Gan, east of Tel Aviv on February 5, 2018 AFP

Man-made diamonds - manufactured by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) - are grown in carbon-containing gas in a plasma state. Layers of carbon atoms create stones chemically identical to mined diamonds. The first synthetic diamonds were made in Sweden in 1953 by a high pressure-high temperature process, literally a carbon-copy of nature. In 1989, a technological leap was achieved when the Diamond Research Laboratory (DRL), later to become De Beers’ Element Six, completed diamond synthesis using a low-pressure CVD. A diamond is one giant molecule of carbon atoms. Using CVD, diamond forms in a high-temperature plasma mix of hydrogen and methane, at very low pressures inside a vacuum chamber. An actual diamond crystal acts as a seed for diamond growth. Apart from jewellery, synthetic diamond has commercial applications from oil and gas drilling to cutting-edge electronics. Synthetic diamond is a candidate material for quantum computing which performs operations that are not possible using computers that follow classical physics