Western scientists, it has come a very long way in recycling (plastic) technology recently. Nanodiamonds are so small that they can fit on the tip of human hair. So, scientists from Germany and California work together to make them.
The treatment interventions were in 2017 when the same scientists started making diamonds from polystyrene plastic (Styrofoam). Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics. Which are used in bottles, clothes, carpets, and more, are the new medium for these researchers after a five-year break. The research article came out this past Friday in Science Advances.
The discovery paves the way for a new way to recycle. Which is based on the fact that some exoplanets in our universe, especially Uranus and Neptune, rain diamonds. Scientists it has recreated the extreme weather conditions found in these worlds in order to make diamond rain.
In the United States, SLAC stands for Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.
The hydrogen and carbon in polystyrene are in the same chemical arrangement as those in Uranus and Neptune. They place the material through a powerful X-ray laser, which quickly heated the polystyrene to 4700 degrees Celsius and squeezed it by 150 gigapascals to mimic the conditions inside frozen planets.
With just two flashes of the laser, the scientists became able to make nanodiamonds. But they are still missing an important element: oxygen. For this purpose, there is PET, a material with the right amount of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
In addition to their standard tests on PET, the researchers will use small angle X-ray diffraction to look at the rate and size of diamond growth. It became found that adding oxygen to the process of making diamonds made them better, allowing them to grow faster and bigger under more pressure and for longer periods of time.
The X-ray laser let them make many more microgram-sized diamonds with each blast. To be useful, though, they need to make at least a few milligrams, as German research lab expert Dominik Kraus pointed out. Future expansion could make regular, efficient recycling possible.
This could be a good way to recycle a lot of PET if the industrial scaling of the formation process works out. This is because nanodiamonds are needed in very large quantities for some processes, such as catalysis for light-induced CO2 reduction reactions that help reduce global warming.