Scientists have developed a way to mass-produce tiny diamond crystals shaped like needles and threads, which may power the next generation of quantum computing. Physicists from Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia have described structural peculiarities of micrometre-sized diamond crystals in needle- and thread-like shapes, and their interrelation with luminescence features and field electron emission efficiency.
They have shown that low-quality diamond films containing separate, unconnected crystallites could be used for production of diamonds in the form of needle- or thread-like shapes. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to heat such films in an oxygen-containing environment. When heated, a part of the film material begins oxidising and gasified. Due to the fact that diamond crystallite oxidation requires maximum temperature, it is possible to adjust the temperature so that all material except diamond crystallites is gasified.
This relatively simple technology combines production of polycrystalline diamond films with specific structural characteristics via heating in oxygen. It enables mass production of diamond crystallites of various shapes. The crystallites could be used, for instance, as high-hardness elements, cutters for high-precision processing, or indenters or probes for scanning microscopes.