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In the back room of an unmarked brown building in a run-down strip mall, eight machines, each the size of a bass drum, are making diamonds.
That's right — making diamonds. Real ones, all but indistinguishable from the stones formed by a billion or so years' worth of intense pressure, later to be sold at Tiffany's.
The company doing this is Apollo Diamond, a tiny outfit started by a former Bell Labs scientist. Peer inside Apollo's stainless steel-and-glass machines, and you can see single-crystal diamonds literally growing amid hot pink gases.
This year, Apollo expects to grow diamonds as big as 2 carats. By the end of 2005, it might expand to 10 carats. The diamonds will probably start moving into the jewelry market as early as next year — at perhaps one-third the price of a mined diamond.
The whole concept turns the fundamental idea of a diamond on its head. The ability to manufacture diamonds could change business, products and daily life as much as the arrival of the steel age in the 1850s or the invention of the transistor in the 1940s.
In technology, the diamond is a dream material. It can make computers run at speeds that would melt the innards of today's computers. Manufactured diamonds could help make lasers of extreme power. The material could allow a cellphone to fit into a watch and iPods to store 10,000 movies, not just 10,000 songs. Diamonds could mean frictionless medical replacement joints. Or coatings — perhaps for cars — that never scratch or wear out.
Scientists have known about the possibilities for years. But they've been held back because mined diamonds are too expensive and too rare. And they're hard to form into wafers and shapes that would be most useful in products.
Manufacturing changes that. It's like the difference between having to wait for lightning to start a fire vs. knowing how to start it by hand.
"I'm just so completely awed by this technology," says Sonia Arrisonof tech analysis group Pacific Research Institute. "Basically, anything that relies on computing power will accelerate."
Arno Penzias, a venture capitalist and Nobel Prize winner for physics, says, "This diamond-fabrication story marks a high-profile milestone on an amazing scientific journey."
"We can't begin to see all the things that can happen because single diamond crystals can be made," says Apollo co-founder Robert Linares, elegant and slim in a golf shirt, slacks and loafers as he sits at the two plastic folding tables that make up Apollo's low-budget conference room. "We are only at the beginning."
Linares has worked on the technology for 15 years, much of that time in his garage. From the start, he did this because of the promise of diamonds in technology. Linares wasn't trying to make gems. In fact, he didn't think he could.
Then he had a happy accident. Well, actually, time will tell whether the accident was a happy one.
Two different paths to diamonds
In 1955, General Electric figured out how to use room-size machines to put carbon under extremely high pressure and make diamond dust and chips. The diamond material wasn't pure or big enough for gems or digital technology. But it had industrial uses, such as diamond-tipped saws. Such saws made it possible, for instance, to cut granite into countertops.
In the ensuing decades, companies and inventors tried to make bigger, better diamonds. But they didn't get far. By the 1990s, researchers were focused on two different paths to diamonds.
One was brute force. Some Russians became pretty good at it, and their machines were eventually brought to Florida by Gemesis. That company now crushes carbon under 58,000 atmospheres of pressure at 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit, until the stuff crystallizes into yellowish diamonds. The stones are attractive for jewelry but not pure enough for digital technology. Gemesis sells its gems through retailers at around $5,000 per carat. A mined yellow diamond can cost four times more.
The other process is called chemical vapor deposition, or CVD. It's more subtle. It uses a combination of carbon gases, temperature and pressure that, Linares says, re-creates conditions present at the beginning of the universe. Atoms from the vapor land on a tiny diamond chip placed in the chamber. Then the vapor particles take on the structure of that diamond — growing the diamond, atom by atom, into a much bigger diamond.
continued at source
Originally posted by esteay812
Was this gotten from a crashed UFO or alien technology relationships?
"We can't begin to see all the things that can happen because single diamond crystals can be made," says Apollo co-founder Robert Linares, ........
Linares has worked on the technology for 15 years, much of that time in his garage. From the start, he did this because of the promise of diamonds in technology.