Shear driven formation of nano-diamonds at sub-gigapascals and 300 K

Yang Gao, Yanzhang Ma, Qi An, Valery Levitas, Yanyan Zhang, Biao Feng, Jharna Chaudhuri, William A. Goddard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The transformation pathways of carbon at high pressures are of broad interest for synthesis of novel materials and for revealing the Earth's geological history. We have applied large plastic shear on graphite in a rotational anvil cell to form hexagonal diamond and nanocrystalline cubic diamond at extremely low pressures of 0.4 and 0.7 GPa, which are 50 and 100 times lower than the transformation pressures under hydrostatic compression and well below the phase equilibrium. Large shearing accompanied with pressure elevation to 3 GPa also leads to formation of a new orthorhombic diamond phase. Our results demonstrate new mechanisms and new means for plastic shear-controlled material synthesis at drastically reduced pressures, enabling new technologies for material synthesis. The result also has significant geological implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
StatePublished - May 2019


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