Experiments on the planet indicate a good amount of diamonds literally raining down on icy giant planets like Neptune and Uranus and could even point toward a fresh solution to produce tiny nanodiamonds for use on our very own planet.
Earlier research has suggested actual diamonds could be within rain and hail in the atmospheres of giant planets, including Saturn, but a fresh international collaboration finds that diamond rain could possibly be relatively common through the entire galaxy.
Researchers from Germany, France and the united states tweaked the prior experiments, utilizing a new material that’s more like the chemistry entirely on ice giants. This mystery material works out never to be exotic at all, but some sort of PET plastic typically found in bottles you can purchase at the store. The more representative chemical mix in the plastic basically added degrees of oxygen that hadn’t been within the sooner experiments.
Utilizing the plastic as a stand-in for the chemistry of an ice giant’s atmosphere, then they zapped it with a laser to simulate the atmospheric pressures present on such planets to see what would happen.
“The result of the oxygen was to accelerate the splitting of the carbon and hydrogen and therefore encourage the forming of nanodiamonds,” Dominik Kraus, a physicist and professor at Germany’s University of Rostock, said in a statement. “It meant the carbon atoms could combine easier and form diamonds.”
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Basically, the specific environment at icy gas giant planets has more oxygen and much more oxygen means more diamonds.
The team, including researchers from France’s cole Polytechnique in collaboration with the SLAC National Accelerator Lab in Silicon Valley, published its study in the journalScience Advanceson Friday.
Remarkably, the scientists say that diamonds made by conditions on Neptune or Uranus could weigh an incredible number of carats. The record for a diamond on the planet is merely over 3,100 carats. It might even be that there surely is a thick diamond layer somewhere above the planets’ cores.
It will likely be quite awhile before it may be possible to go mega diamond prospecting on other planets, however the research might provide insights into new methods to produce nanodiamonds. Such miniscule gems already are found in certain polishes, but may have uses in sensors and renewable energy tech.
“Just how nanodiamonds are made is by firmly taking a lot of carbon or diamond and blowing it up with explosives,” said SLAC scientist and collaborator Benjamin Ofori-Okai. “Laser production can offer a cleaner and much more easily controlled solution to produce nanodiamonds.”
The researchers are organizing more experiments which will tweak the chemistry involved just as before to get a far more precise picture of how diamond rain forms and the processes that may create the gems out of thin (or thick) air.