Diamond from Molecules
Conventional methods require high temperatures to slowly build diamond films. We do it differently. We synthesize diamond from “tetrahedranoidal” molecules, which approximate the tetrahedral diamond unit cell, the smallest assembly of carbon atoms that make up diamond. We react a tetrahedranoidal compound with an excited state carbon atom in a thermodynamically driven reaction that yields ultra-pure diamond.
The Diamond Unit Cell
The resulting diamond unit cell is a tetrahedral assembly of five carbon atoms comprising a carbon atom at each apex and a carbon atom in the center, the “cage” position.
Building Blocks of Diamond
Five tetrahedranoidal molecules that we can use in our process.
- tetrahedrane (C4H4)
- benzvalene (C6H6)
- dihydro-benzvalene (C6H8)
- tetrahedranone (2,3,4-methynyl-cyclobutanone)–
- diazabenzvalene (2,3,4-methynyl-pyrazoline)–
Tetrahedranoidal compounds that are sterically unencumbered may be used as reactants with an excited state carbon atom to produce diamond.
Carbon Sourced from Cubane*
Carbon reacts with each of these tetrahedranoidal molecules to produce diamond. Cubane is our preferred carbon source: C:H ratio = 1; 166 kcal/mole strain energy.
*While not currently used in CVD diamond production, cubane is a clean carbon atom source for chemical vapor deposition processes (diamond, metal carbides, etc.).
Making Diamond from Benzvalene
The following shows how we make diamond from benzvalene.
See our patents to learn more about the other compounds.
Benzvalene vapor is reacted with excited state atomic carbon at ambient conditions, kinetically limited only by the rate at which reactants are provided.
Under ambient conditions, a homogeneous mixture of benzvalene and cubane is subjected to a high energy discharge to form solid diamond within seconds.