Scientists create nanodiamonds from plastic bottles

In the most recent experiment, the researchers used PET plastic, which is commonly used in food packaging, plastic bottles, and containers, to more accurately reproduce the composition of these planets.

“The effect of the oxygen was to accelerate the splitting of the carbon and hydrogen and thus encourage the formation of nanodiamonds,” said Dominik Kraus, a physicist at HZDR and professor at the University of Rostock.

“It meant the carbon atoms could combine more easily and form diamonds.”

The new research provides a complete picture of how diamond rain forms on other planets and could lead to a new method of producing nanodiamonds, which have a wide range of applications in drug delivery, medical sensors, noninvasive surgery, sustainable manufacturing, and quantum electronics.

“The earlier paper was the first time that we directly saw diamond formation from any mixtures. Since then, there have been quite a lot of experiments with different pure materials,” said Siegfried Glenzer, director of the High Energy Density Division at SLAC.

“But inside planets, it’s much more complicated; there are a lot more chemicals in the mix. And so, what we wanted to figure out here was what sort of effect these additional chemicals have.”

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