North Carolina State University researchers have created a new phase of solid carbon, called Q-carbon, which is distinct from the known phases of graphite and diamond. They have also developed a technique for using Q-carbon to make diamond-related structures at room temperature and at ambient atmospheric pressure in air. Phases are distinct forms of the same material. Graphite is one of the solid phases of carbon; diamond is another.
“We’ve now created a third solid phase of carbon,” said Jay Narayan, lead author of three papers describing the work. “The only place it may be found in the natural world would be possibly in the core of some planets.”