Diamonds are known to be among the stiffest materials known to man. A new study finds a worthy competitor to the naturally-occurring cubic diamonds - in the form of lab-made hexagonal diamonds.

Hexagonal diamonds are named as such in reference to their crystal structure. Some samples were found at meteor impact sites, others were grown in laboratories, but all of them are too small or too short-lived to be precisely measured until now.

Researchers from the Institute for Shock Physics at the Washington State University have created hexagonal diamonds that are big enough to be measured in terms of stiffness using sound waves. They discovered that these hexagonal diamonds are even stiffer compared to naturally-occurring cubic diamonds, reporting their findings in the journal Physical Review B in the article "Elastic moduli of hexagonal diamond and cubic diamond formed under shock compression."

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