A meteor that hit Earth 50,000 years ago could change technology

A meteorite that hit Earth 50,000 years ago hit so hard that it formed a unique diamond, and scientists say it could represent a technological leap forward.

Recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, research by University College London and some Hungarian colleagues found that the diamonds formed in the impact had “unique and distinctive properties”.

The researchers say these structures can be targeted for advanced mechanical and electronic applications, allowing us to create materials that are not only extremely hard, but ductile with tunable electronic properties.

A meteor that hit Earth about 50,000 years ago may hold the key to a technological leap forward. (University College London)

The meteorite the team studied was found in the Arizona desert in 1891.

Previously thought to consist of a hexagonal diamond structure, it has been found to be made of “nanostructured” diamond and crystalline “clumps” of two different minerals.

The structural units and complexity shown in the samples can occur in many other carbonaceous materials produced by impact and static compression or by vapor-phase deposition, the researchers said.

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“Controlled layer-by-layer growth of the structures should make it possible to create materials that are both extremely stiff and flexible, as well as having tunable electronic properties from conductor to insulator,” study co-author Professor Christoph Salzmann of UCL said. said

“This discovery therefore opens the door to new carbon materials with interesting mechanical and electronic properties that could lead to new applications from abrasives and electronics to nanomedicine and laser technology.”

Godfrey Kemp

"Bacon fanatic. Social media enthusiast. Music practitioner. Internet scholar. Incurable travel advocate. Wannabe web junkie. Coffeeaholic. Alcohol fanatic."

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