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It sounds like alchemy: take a clump of white dust, squeeze it in a diamond-studded pressure chamber, then blast it with a laser. Open the chamber and find a new microscopic speck of pure diamond inside.

A new study from Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory reveals how, with careful tuning of heat and pressure, that recipe can produce diamonds from a type of hydrogen and carbon molecule found in crude oil and natural gas.

"What's exciting about this paper is it shows a way of cheating the thermodynamics of what's typically required for diamond formation," said Stanford geologist Rodney Ewing, a co-author on the paper, published Feb. 21 in the journal Science Advances.

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Category: Science