London: Scientists have developed a new method for the synthesis of an ultra-hard material that exceeds the hardness of diamonds.
The method allows synthesis of fullerite - a polymer composed of fullerenes or spherical molecules made of carbon atoms.
Fullerenes are carbon molecules in the form of spheres consisting of 60 atoms.
According to researchers from the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials (TISNCM) in the town of Troitsk, Russia, this promising material is not ready for industrial synthesis as yet.
"Practically, the superhard carbon form is of primary interest for specialists in the field of metals and other materials processing: the harder a tool is and the longer it works," said leading author Mikhail Popov, head of the laboratory of functional nanomaterials at TISNCM.
The discovery will create a new research area in materials science because it substantially reduces the pressure required for synthesis and allows for manufacturing the material and its derivatives on an industrial scale, the researchers concluded.
The article was published in the journal Carbon.