Despite the fact that diamonds are one of the hardest materials in the world, their state of matter not necessarily has to be always solid. At least it is not clearly determined in case of microscale. This brittle material when transformed in extremely narrow shapes can act just like rubber.
The report made by researchers from MIT in co-working with exports from Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore explains how it is possible for diamonds to bend and stretch just like an elastic material. When crystals are formed into extremely tiny shapes resembling needles they can become astonishingly pliable according to a top rigid kind of material. After that, they can still spring back to the original shape. Bigger shapes of diamonds are usually far stiffer and its elasticity index shows less than 1%. In the case of long, narrow and fine micro diamonds, the grade of bending can be even to 9% before it reaches the previous shape.
How the discovery influence science?
The results of researches might be significant for a future of diamond-based devices. For example, it could develop areas of data storage, biocompatible in vivo imaging, optoelectronics or drugs delivery. Among mentioned potential appliances, the usage in modern medicine seems especially interesting. The team of researchers tries to find a way to deliver drugs to the center of the cancer cells.
Considering the unique ability to bend by diamonds in nanoscale, the scientists managed to develop a nanomechanical method for their close control and quantity evaluation. Surely, the research has just launched and it is the very beginning of the application in a practical way, nevertheless, the results already look extremely promising. The question of how one of the hardest materials can bend and stretch will fascinate the world of science for a while. However, the possibilities to resolve problems with elastic, diamond crystals seem no less meaningful and interesting.