Chinese chemists have learned how, at the atomic level, to make glass look like diamond and even harder.
At the atomic level, glass is a disordered mixture of atoms. Because of this, it is so easy to break or break. Chemists at Yangshan University in China have figured out how to arrange atoms in glass so that the resulting material can be as hard as diamond - or harder.
They found the critical proportion of crystallized and amorphous carbon needed to create ultra-strong glass. Chemists published an article about their discovery in the journal National Science Rewiew.
Researchers experimented with spheres of carbon, squeezing them under pressure of about 25 gigapascals, and then subjecting the result to temperatures between 1000 and 1200 degrees Celsius. The resulting substances were named AM-I, II and III. They were also subjected to a series of tests by mapping the arrangement of the atoms. All of them have been shown to work as semiconductors at a level comparable to amorphous silicon.
Diamond is known as one of the most durable materials in nature. To scratch it, you need the pressure of another diamond from 60 to 100 gigapascals, depending on whether it is made in a laboratory or belongs to natural stones.
The hardness of the AM-III vitreous material obtained by Chinese chemists is measured in the range from 110 to 116 gigapascals, making it the hardest amorphous solid to date. When it slides over the surface of a natural diamond, a clear groove remains.