The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) Office of Science User Facility kind of made diamonds out of graphite this past February. In a study entitled “Interlayer Carbon Bond Formation Induced by Hydrogen Adsorption in Few-Layer Supported Graphene,” Stanford researchers found that exposing graphene to hydrogen produces diamond-like carbon. According to Wikipedia, “Graphene is pure carbon in the form of a very thin, nearly transparent sheet, one atom thick.” The researchers used thin graphene sheets to absorb hydrogen on an atomic scale. Its result produced outer layers with diamond-like characteristics. According to the study, exposing these pencil guts to hydrogen “a new potential route towards synthesizing thin diamond-like layers on metal substrates.” If you want to run off to your former Chemistry teacher’s old lab with your case of Blackwings, know that the research was conducted on a nanoscale (That’s one billionth of a meter). The graphene film was but a few atomic layers thick so, at this point, the process only operates on a very tiny scale. Also, the graphene sheets were loaded onto a platinum support and the process was performed with high-powered X-rays. Most high school labs are lucky to have unbroken beakers. But don’t lose hope – soon enough (we hope), the writers, artists and architects of the world will be rich with stock holds of potential diamonds in their pencil casings. All those years of hard work in the face of adversity and nay-sayers will have been worth it as we take our beloved writing utensils into one of the new hydrogenation clinics and convert them into precious stones. Hey, we can dream can’t we?
You can read more about the study here.
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