Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, or so saying goes. But ladies may need to open up their friendship with diamonds, because the hardest substance on Earth has found a new use beyond beautiful jewelry: batteries.
Yes, diamonds may become the batteries of the future thanks to an innovative new process created by chemists working out of the University of Bristol. And no, this isn’t a way to create the world’s most expensive Duracell.
The process begins with nuclear waste and a particular “low-yield beta particle emitter” dubbed c-14, recounts New Atlas. Carbon-14 is first pulled out of radioactive material (in this case graphite blocks that were used as moderators in a nuclear reactor) through extreme heat. The c-14 then turns into a gas, which is then undergoes “diamond synthesis” to create a glimmering new (you guessed it) diamond.
When placed in a radioactive field, something quite interesting happens to these special diamonds. The c-14 emit beta particles again, but due to its new structure, electricity is produced by the diamond all on its own, effectively creating a nuclear powered diamond.
Still somewhat radioactive, the diamonds are then coated with another layer of diamond to act as a shield while also protecting the radioactive material. Nothing like the hardest substance on Earth to act as a protection against radiation.
Each diamond-battery will last next to forever, too, and I mean that literally. Since c-15 has an incredibly long half-life, the diamond batteries would only reach 50% of their energy output capacity by the year 7746.
Incredibly innovative in every sense, the nuclear powered diamonds are more than just a source of energy. Since they are created out of nuclear waste, the diamonds present a new way to re-purpose such materials.
If you’re a little confused about the whole process (I know I still am a bit) then take a gander at the video below, which offers a visual breakdown of how these diamonds are made.
Featured image courtesy of: Jeffrey Beall