back to article Uh oh, scientists know how those diamonds got in Uranus, and they're telling everyone!

Researchers from Stanford have shown how the frigid, high-pressure atmospheres of the planets Uranus and Neptune can create a "rain" of diamonds. The team from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory says it used an optical laser from the Matter In Extreme Conditions instrument to demonstrate how, deep within the gas giants, …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    a "rain" of diamonds.

    Lucy?

  2. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    FAIL

    Corrections

    5000 kilometres depth not 5000 metres

    the two other planets - should be - the two outer planets

  3. Jan 0

    'high pressure can bond hydrogen and carbon atoms'?

    Well, yes of course it can, but 'to create nanometre-wide "diamonds"'? When I last looked, there wasn't much hydrogen in a diamond. I think the scientists involved probably have a more nuanced explanation.

    1. Scroticus Canis

      Re: 'high pressure can bond hydrogen and carbon atoms'?

      Carbides can be hard, but hydrogen carbide a.k.a. methane is hardly a tetrahedral* carbon allotrope as you point out.

      Wonder what they really mean?

      * a crystal would be octahedral in shape, two base arrangements together

    2. samzeman

      Re: 'high pressure can bond hydrogen and carbon atoms'?

      The wording is unclear. Hydrocarbons are involved in the process of creating diamonds from gas, but since diamond is a pure carbon thing.... Obviously no hydrogen persists in it.

      https://www.gia.edu/news-research-CVD-grown-part1

    3. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: 'high pressure can bond hydrogen and carbon atoms'?

      Well, yes of course it can, but 'to create nanometre-wide "diamonds"'? When I last looked, there wasn't much hydrogen in a diamond.

      Be careful, GCSE and A level chemistry tends to focus on the macromolecular bulk and ignore what happens at the edges of the crystal. You always do have impurities to fill up the otherwise unconnected bonds. The composition varies but hydrogen is one of the most common options. If you're talking about nanometre scale diamonds then the edges start to represent a much greater fraction of the diamond as a whole.

  4. JJKing Bronze badge
    Coat

    The answer to the question.

    I would have thought that the answer as to how those diamonds got in Uranus was that you swallowed them.

    I'm here 'till Friday or should I not give up my day job?

    1. Oengus Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The answer to the question.

      I thought you ate well done steak (carbonized) and squeezed them out.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: The answer to the question.

        Oengus, you should have told me earlier! Last night on the loo I sure as hell was creating diamonds. Next time I shall have a closer look at the turd. Or not.

        1. LaeMing Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: The answer to the question.

          Isn't that why everyone looks in the hankie/tissue after blowing their nose? They are hoping to find diamonds? (Why else would people do that?!)

          1. Martin Budden

            Re: The answer to the question.

            A nugget of purest Green!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The answer to the question.

            Why else would people do that?!

            1. Depends on how far away dinner is

            2. To check if an eyeball and/or brain matter escaped

            3. To enjoy the fruits of their labour

            4. Colour check

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          " Last night on the loo I sure as hell was creating diamonds."

          Usual sign of not enough water in the system.

          Note carbonated beverage <> water.

          1. Paul Woodhouse

            Re: " Last night on the loo I sure as hell was creating diamonds."

            if carbonated beverage == beer

            carbonated beverage > water

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The answer to the question.

        I thought you ate well done steak (carbonized) and squeezed them out.

        You may have just explained Trump's use of ketchup..

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: The answer to the question.

      Customs Official (in gloved hands): And what have we here?

      Diamond Smuggler: Must be the heat and pressure - I've not gone in weeks

    3. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: The answer to the question.

      Felix Leiter: "I give up. I know the diamonds are in the body, but where?"

      James Bond: "Alimentary, Dr. Leiter.."

    4. Annihilator
      Thumb Up

      Re: The answer to the question.

      Farnsworth: "I'm sorry Fry, astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all"

      Fry: "Oh, what's it called now?"

      Farnsworth: "Urectum"

  5. Faux Science Slayer

    Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

    Siberian mammoths, mastodons and wolliecrhinos were found with broken spines, femurs indicating bowling ball sized hail, waist deep to keep them from falling over. These animals had temperate zone dandelions at their feet, undigested in their stomachs, flash frozen before decay. North American extinction included giant bison, giant sloth, sabertooth tiger, dire wolf and more.

    There is a layer of nano-diamonds in the Holocene deposits indicating Comet strike.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

      Bowling ball sized hail caused mass extinctions? I assume you have a link for this?

      1. frank ly Silver badge
        Happy

        @DougS Re: Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

        Remove the 'l' from "Slayer".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

        I assume you have a link for this?

        I assume from this hopeless expectation that you've not come across this fool before, then.

        I'd thought there might have been a connection between their recent absence from here and someone with a tenuous grasp of science and facts being preoccupied with a new job in Washington, but it seems not.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

      Care to describe the physics involved when nature produces a bowling ball sized hail stone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

        Care to describe the physics involved when nature produces a bowling ball sized hail stone?

        All I know is that it involved a tornado in the US, a bowling alley and a time-shifting black hole. I'm no expert, of course, I just read a lot of SF. :)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

        "Care to describe the physics involved when nature produces a bowling ball sized hail stone?"

        A lot of turbulence.

      3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

        I understand that they can be slightly bigger than a bowling bowl on (unlucky but luckily very rare) occasions. Not sure of the accuracy of this site but it looks reasonable at first glance: https://www.livescience.com/32694-how-big-was-the-biggest-hailstone-ever.html

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Holocene Extinction coated with nano-diamonds !

          That article is a bit hyperbolic. That hailstone is almost the width of a bowling ball, but it is hardly spherical. A bowling ball's volume is 5447 cm^3, meaning it would weigh about 11 pounds if it was made of ice. That's a far cry from that hailstone, or the record of ~1.5 pounds.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Go

    So it's like snow flakes forming around seed...

    Any chance they might grow on the way down?

    But impressive for just the whole "blasting polystyrene beads with really powerful lasers" thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Polystyrene "similar to" methane?

      Well, they've both got carbon and hydrogen atoms...

  7. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    Whoopie!

    Now when I win the lotto I can has diamond encrusted frikkin sharks with lasers

  8. 0laf Silver badge

    Are there lasers in Uranus?

    What creates the equivalent shock to make the diamonds or is that just the pressure?

    Who'd have thought high pressure in Uranus can create diamonds.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Well I've known enough People who think their sh%t doesnt stink. this is just taking it a step further.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    De Beers sponsoring the next probe?

    I must point out that, given the pressure discussion, the word 'probe' can go both ways :).

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: De Beers sponsoring the next probe?

      More likely De Beers would try to sabotage any probe that could threaten it's hold over the artificial scarcity of diamonds.

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: De Beers sponsoring the next probe?

        Exactly this!

        The last thing De Beers et al need is more diamonds. They already have far too many.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: De Beers sponsoring the next probe?

          I remember reading an article in Wired many years ago about a guy who had come up wit a process for producing jewelry-grade (as opposed to simply industrial-grade) diamonds.

          The first feedback that he got was that he'd be dead within a short time - as one of the big diamond houses would have him killed, as what he could produce was too much of a threat to their market.

          1. davenewman

            Re: De Beers sponsoring the next probe?

            This month's Wired has an article on producing large diamonds by chemical vapour deposition. Purer than mined diamonds. But each diamond takes 20 min. to grow.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: De Beers sponsoring the next probe?

              The last I heard about/understoon about the production if diamonds is that there are two general methods: Attempting to replicate high pressure and temperature and chemical deposition of some form.

              While it's hard to know the true story behind De Beers and the diamond trade, it is a very interesting read about advertising and in particular what advertising agencies have to do when market saturation is reached and they have to change attitudes as well as just market. On the other hand, prior to the exceedingly successful campaign from De Beers, diamonds were not considered such a rarity or a must-have (engagement and wedding rings) unless large or very pure.

  10. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Trollface

    ah....

    Fridgid, high pressure environments create diamonds.... please no body tell the wife.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Dr. G. Freeman

      Re: tiny diamonds

      Element 12 - Magnesium,

      Element 6- Carbon

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: tiny diamonds

        Sorry, I prefer the fifth element. I just have to find a way to deal with Bruce Willis.

  12. John Mangan

    "they were able to create shockwaves that briefly formed tiny diamond crystals "

    So do nanometre diamonds generally evaporate or is it that just after the shockwave forming them the laser obliterates them?

    How 'briefly' are we talking?

  13. 0laf Silver badge

    If deBeers have a monopoly on diamonds,

    And the rarity of diamonds is artificially created by deBeers to drive up the price,

    So there isn't really any shortage of natural diamonds,

    Why do they need a factory to make more?

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge
      WTF?

      P

      Q

      P & Q => R

      X

    2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Because 'large' diamonds can be produced in all sorts of stupid colours for the vain, and smaller ones for industrial use can be produced on a relatively large scale with a uniform structure (not all diamonds are equal). Without such plants we would not have affordable diamond cutting tools.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Why do they need a factory?

      They make small industrial ones to coat tools.

      They make large flawless large ones (including small windows) for specialist applications. Superior heat conducting material that's an electrical insulat. Unlike other allotropes of carbon, it's an electrical insulator if pure. Beryllium Oxide is next best. Mica and certain elastomers have been used, but very inferior to Beryllium Oxide.

      Diamonds used in Jewellery vary in impurities / flaws.

      De Beer's Element Six has a factory in Shannon, Ireland.

      https://www.shannonchamber.ie/membership/members/manufacturing/element-six/

      http://www.e6.com/en/Home/About+us/Company+profile/

      But yes, no existing precious metal or gem company wants a cheap new source of the NATURAL products.

      Sapphires as gems are worth most in jewellery if natural. Like diamond, there is synthetic sapphire for industrial use (originally mechanical watch face covers and also jewels in movement).

      I don't know if record player stylii are synthetic or natural sapphire (50 hrs) and diamond (about 500 hrs) vs single play steel needles. Autochangers in 1930s first used sapphire as obviously a bamboo, thorn or steel needle would be useless. UK single play 78 only turntables still used steeel needles on some models till 1949. Microgroove 33 1/3 1948 and 45 rpm 1949 could only use sapphire or diamond stylus.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Why do they need a factory to make more?"

      They need industrial diamonds. If they were to simply release gem-grade diamonds for industrial use they'd PDQ get recycled into the gem trade & depress the price there.

  14. John Sanders
    Pint

    Beer wining headline

    Dear El Reg, congrats, you made me chuckle and won a beer.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It had to be said

    Uranus has two moons that are hidden.

    Who knew gassy planets wore trousers?

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Diamonds contain no bonded hydrogen. I learned this as a callow yputh at St John Backsides Comprehensive from Mr Thomas, head of Chemical Indoctrination.

    Fire all these so-called "scientists" and make them give back their certifications of cleverness to the universities that awarded them.

  17. John Jennings

    Moons?

    More Moons round Uranus? What?!

  18. Captain Obvious
    Joke

    Diamonds are Forever

    Send James Bond there!

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Diamonds are Forever

      @Captain Obvious

      Send James Bond there!

      He's already on the Case

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GCU Arbitrary wanted to have a bit of fun.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    planet worrying

    we do seem to know a very large amount about uranus and planets light years away but eff all about mars and the moon which we have been worrying for years.

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