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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Shaving a Diamond
29 November 2010 1:49 pm
How do you cut the hardest thing on Earth? Jewelers know it can be done; they've been cutting diamonds for centuries with other diamonds. Materials scientists just didn't know why this worked. Now they do, thanks to a new computer simulation of two diamonds rubbing against each other under high pressure. According to the model, published online yesterday in Nature Materials, carbon atoms on one diamond (left arrow) latch onto carbon atoms poking out from the other diamond (curved arrow) and briefly pull them along, breaking and reforming atomic bonds as they go. This creates an amorphous surface with liquid-like properties, which allows the diamond to be cut. The findings could lead to a new generation of amorphous diamond coatings on objects such as car pistons, which could rub against each other at high speeds without wearing down and with minimal lubrication.
See more ScienceShots.