Researchers have developed a way to use “flashes” of electricity to convert carbon into various forms – graphene or nanodiamonds.
Scientists at Rice University have developed a way to convert carbon from various sources into useful forms like graphene or diamonds. The new technique uses a “flash” of electricity to heat carbon. The length of the flash determines its final shape.
The method itself is known as flash joule heating (FJH), and the team first described it in January 2020. An electric current is passed through the carbonaceous materials, heating them to about 2,727°C, which turns the carbon into pristine turbostratic graphene flakes.
The researchers have now refined the process to create other materials. The initial flares lasted 10 milliseconds, but scientists have found that by changing their duration from 10 to 500 milliseconds, carbon can be produced in other forms. For example, in the form of nanodiamonds.
In industry, small diamonds have long been used in cutting tools and as electrical insulators.
The research is published in the journal ACS Nano.