Shards of meteorites found hexagonal diamonds from an ancient planet

Shards of meteorites found hexagonal diamonds from an ancient planet

Australian researchers have confirmed the existence of lonsdaleite, a rare hexagonal form of diamond, in meteorites originating from the ancient dwarf planet of the solar system, and researchers believe that unusual diamonds were formed when the planet crashed with an asteroid about 4.5 billion years ago.

Researchers have used advanced electronic microscopic techniques to capture solid and intact meteorite cuts to create images of the formation of lonsdaleite and conventional diamonds, and research has shown that the formation process resembles chemical deposition from the vapour phase in supercritical conditions.

Chemical deposition is used to produce diamonds under laboratory conditions, and researchers believe that, in extreme conditions at high temperature and moderate pressure following a catastrophic impact, graphite diamonds form almost ideal hexagonal structures, which resemble the shape and texture of a two-dimensional carbon modification — the graph — that existed on the surface before.

As the material cools down, part of the lonsdale has been replaced by classical diamonds, and researchers note that the hexagonal modification has greater strength than even the most solid mineral on the ground, and they plan to move the lonsdale formation to laboratory conditions in order to create technology for the production of super-strengthed diamond components from graphene for different machines.