Diamond Age

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This colorless synthetic diamond from Apollo Diamond may pose a bit of a challenge to the African warlords and the De Beers cartel.

This diamond has the same atomic structure as a mined diamond, and is therefore optically, chemically and physically identical. But Apollo plans to get the cost down to $10/carat with high volume manufacturing.

It is grown one carbon atom at a time in a customized CVD (chemical vapor deposition) process. A perfect seed crystal starts the process (over time, Apollo has enlarged the “seed” to wafer scale). The seed is placed in a microwave chamber with a hydrogen + methane plasma heated to 1300 degrees that rains reactive carbon down onto the seed, growing ~1 carat per 12 hours.

Although the manufacturing process should produce diamonds with fewer flaws than mined diamonds, this early diamond has some defects that I could only see with the macro lens (inclusions and a crown notch. I’m just happy to have a version with personality. =)

It is 8mm wide by 2mm deep. Right now the 2mm depth is the critical manufacturing limit, and it affects the ability to do a standard brilliant diamond cut. So this one is flat and wide. But they can make sheets of diamond with this thickness. Imagine a diamond window pane, or semiconductor wafers that can run at 81 Ghz without elaborate cooling.

!MimosaMicheMichelle!, janoid, and 110 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. LARDI 79 months ago | reply

    beautiful diamond
    nice shot

  2. stephend9 78 months ago | reply

    You are invited to add this photo to the Simply Diamonds group:

    Simply Diamonds

  3. joshcrochet 78 months ago | reply

    try same shot w/ flash. cool effect. find example on my profile under mechanical stills set.


  4. weeklymg 76 months ago | reply

    Hi. I wanted to let you know that I'm using this photo, in accordance with the Creative Commons License, on my blog: weeklymobilegoodies.blogspot.com

  5. henamu 74 months ago | reply

    Hi I'm Korean publishing editor.
    I'want to get your photos for a book(the title is "color". it's science book about the color,light,culture,chemistry and so on...) so I want to ask the royalty for that.
    Please give me e-mail(henamu@yahoo.co.kr)

  6. jurvetson 74 months ago | reply

    Sure... All of my photos are free to use with a simple photo attribution. thanks.

  7. henamu 74 months ago | reply

    I appreciate your pemission.
    Thank you very much.
    Best wishes to you!

  8. Whispers from the city 73 months ago | reply

    shiny! I like very much your macro set. Those photos are really incredible

  9. tamebay 71 months ago | reply

    Thank you for the gorgeous photo and the CC licence: we used it on a blog post today:

  10. _xaipe_ 41 months ago | reply

    This is just what I needed. Thank you for sharing! I used it here: www.suite101.com/content/synthetic-diamonds-man-made-diam...

  11. hveshdon 39 months ago | reply

    I guess diamonds aren't going to be as rare as they say. Even though now they are only as rare as the women who adorn them, which is a ton.

  12. ikoino 36 months ago | reply

    I understand that diamonds burn. If this technique progressed like Moore's Law, I wonder how soon before I can buy a bag of diamond briquettes for a weekend barbecue?

    (with a beer in my hand and De Beers on the grill)

  13. donaldsterp 36 months ago | reply

    nice diamond
    james@ pheromones

  14. Investing in Gold 29 months ago | reply

    Natural diamonds will keep up with the price. And fakers will cease to exist, like this Appolo company did.

  15. 1 2 3 SMILE 29 months ago | reply

    WOW - learn something new every day :) Thanks for the info - cool shot!

  16. kodefuguru 20 months ago | reply

    Great photo, and thanks for releasing it under Creative Commons! I used it in this article.

  17. christinelayton 19 months ago | reply

    Amazing how far synthetic diamonds have come in the past few decades. Thanks! I used this picture here: Diamond Selling Tips to Help You Succeed

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