Millions of Tiny Diamonds

Friday, August 19, 2011

There's nothing like a new scientific discovery to remind us of what a fascinating world we live in:

Dr [Wuzong] Zhou said: "A colleague at another university said to me: 'Of course no-one knows what a candle flame is actually made of.'

"I told him I believed science could explain everything eventually, so I decided to find out."

Using a new sampling technique, assisted by his student Mr Zixue Su, he invented himself, he was able to remove particles from the centre of the flame -- something never successfully achieved before -- and found to his surprise that a candle flame contains all four known forms of carbon.

Dr Zhou said: "This was a surprise because each form is usually created under different conditions."
Among the forms of carbon are diamond nanoparticles, and the discovery could lead to cheaper methods of synthesizing diamonds.

-- CAV

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