More evidence that playing with graphene makes everything a little bit more awesome: Researchers looking into how diamond and graphene would interact at high temperatures wound up etching the diamond by trapping water heated to its supercritical phase next to the diamond’s surface.
When water reaches the supercritical phase, its liquid and vapor phases exist in equilibrium. In this case, the researchers got there by laying a wet graphene membrane over a crystal of diamond and heating it to 1,275 degrees Kelvin. The graphene bonded to the diamond, which trapped the water at high pressure in between. The water corroded small squares into the diamond—a first, according to Loh Klan Ping, a chemist at the National University of Singapore, where the research was done.
According to the coverage in Popular Science, the experiment created a hydrothermal anvil cell that lets scientists study materials at extremely high temperatures and pressures. The discovery could be used in a variety of applications, including laser-assisted etching of semiconductor films or degradation of organic wastes, the researchers said.
You can read more about their findings in Nature.
Source: Popular Science