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Normally brittle diamond has been stretched by almost 10% by an international team of scientists in China. Modelling done by the team suggests that this stretching significantly alters the electronic properties of the material, which could lead to new applications for diamond such as LEDs and variable-colour lasers.

As well as shining brilliantly in jewelry, diamond has long fascinated scientists for its range of extraordinary properties. Diamond is the hardest material on Earth, has very high charge-carrier mobility and is almost totally transparent. It also has a high thermal conductivity and a very high dielectric breakdown strength – a combination that would be useful in high-power electronic devices.

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