Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Businessweek Archives

Mix Buckyballs And Gas And Presto! Diamond Film


Developments to Watch

MIX BUCKYBALLS AND GAS--AND PRESTO! DIAMOND FILM

Dieter M. Gruen is practicing his own kind of alchemy: transforming soot quickly into diamond films. Today, supertough diamond films are used sparingly: mainly to coat machine tools that cut aluminum-silicon alloys--the strong, lightweight materials used in cars. That's because a diamond film, a lattice of carbon atoms, is usually produced by a time- and energy-intensive process of stripping hydrogen atoms from carbon-containing methane gas. Inevitably, hydrogen ends up in the film, leading to defects.

To make his films, Gruen, a scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, uses pure soot: buckyballs, which contain 60 carbon atoms arranged in a hollow sphere. Microwaves excite a mixture of vaporized argon gas containing buckyballs. The liberated carbon atoms are then deposited in a thin, hydrogen-free film. The new process can produce films two to four times as fast as earlier methods, slashing production costs up to 50%, says Gruen. That could open up new uses for diamond films--to absorb heat from computer chips or serve as coatings for computer hard drives, for instance. Gruen says two electronics companies are negotiating research deals with Argonne to develop the films.EDITED BY EMILY T. SMITH


LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus