Scientists have recreated the “rain of diamonds” on Neptune with X-ray lasers
Do not necessarily fly to the outskirts of the solar system to see a natural miracle, if you have powerful lasers and savvy. In the SLAC laboratory, Stanford University managed to achieve the conditions under which the polystyrene crumb turns into real diamonds. True, so small that they are interesting only to science.
The atmosphere of Neptune is rich in methane, a combination of carbon and hydrogen, of which plastic also consists. All in all, it was required to apply monstrously huge pressure to it, for which the Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) tool was used, part of the most powerful X-ray laser in the world Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). Recently it was modernized, bringing the magnetic field to 17 Tesla, including, for this experiment.
The laser radiation of the MEC generated shock waves in plastic such a force that the carbon atoms were “squeezed” out of the substance and turned into tiny detached diamonds. Their size is only a few nanometers, whereas on Neptune, according to calculations, cobblestones weighing millions of carats can be formed. But both here and here we are talking about real diamonds .
Proc of the precious crumbs no, their lifetime was a fraction of a second, while the lasers were working. However, scientists got a clear idea of how an unusual rain of diamonds can form and what processes can take place in the atmosphere of Neptune. Plus, they took the first step towards developing a technology for synthesizing synthetic nano-diamonds – for the needs of future industries that do not yet exist.
In the immediate plans of this team of scientists to simulate the atmosphere of other planets of the solar system.