ABOUT DIAMONDS: Diamond is a crystalline form of pure carbon that forms under intense heat and pressure. Conditions found in volcanic pipes or when meteors strike the earth can create shock zones of high pressure and temperature. Diamond is the hardest known naturally occurring material, which is why it is popular for cutting and grinding tools, such as diamond-tipped drill bits and saws.
CHEMICAL VAPOR DEPOSITION: Most methods used to create diamonds in a lab or factory mimic the high pressures deep below the Earth's surface that help form natural diamonds. The chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method grows single crystal, synthetic diamonds at low pressure. Essentially, it transforms gas molecules into solid molecules. The process allows scientists to grow crystals very rapidly and with few defects. After it grows the diamond is treated at high heat, by a microwave plasma. This eliminates the initial yellow-brown color, turning the diamonds colorless or light pink.
The Materials Research Society, the American Physical Society, AVS, the Science and Technology Society and the American Geophysical Union contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
This report has also been produced thanks to a generous grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.