Diamond: Potential and Status

  • Max N. Yoder
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 266)


Consider virtually any material property; the value of that property in diamond is virtually certain to represent an extremest value. Although the superlative properties of diamond were known for centuries, knowledge of its wholly carbon constitution came much later. It was the French chemist Antoine L. Lavoisier who found in 1772 that the products of combustion of diamond were singular: CO2. This knowledge of the carbon constituency did not, however, precipitate a rush toward artifact diamond. The first written claim to artifact diamond was made sixty years later by C. Cagniard de la Tour, but the products of his endeavors are no longer to be found. In 1880, J. B. Hanney allegedly synthesized diamond from lithium, bone meal, and mineral oil heated together in a wrought iron tube. His products are on display in the British Museum. Thirteen years after that Henry Moisson developed a procedure that heated sugar charcoal and iron to a molten mixture in an electric furnace and followed by a water quench. The Nobel award winning high pressure work of Percy Bridgman of Harvard University in the 1940s pointed the way toward combining the electric furnace with high pressure to create quality artifact diamond. This approach first became publicly known in the 1950s by a team at General Electric but similar documented but unreported work may have occurred earlier in Sweden. From this time forward the wonder material improved in quality and size until today it is possible to produce artifact diamond films and to coat various materials with polycrystalline diamond.


Boron Nitride Diamond Film Natural Diamond Polycrystalline Diamond Diamond Surface 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Max N. Yoder
    • 1
  1. 1.Electronics DivisionOffice of Naval ResearchArlingtonUSA

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