Scientists have developed a glass-like material that is around as hard as diamond and conducts electricity.
In a pre-print research article, scientists, mostly from China but also from the U.S., Sweden, Germany, and Russia, detailed what they called an "ultrahard, ultrastrong, semiconducting" synthetic carbon.
The team say the material, known as an amorphous material (AM) referred to as "glassy," is the hardest of its type yet discovered. The pre-print research article states it may be useful in electronics that must withstand tough environments.
Creating super-hard materials is nothing new, and materials harder than diamond have been synthesized before. But creating hard materials that also display other useful properties such as conductivity is more difficult.
For example, lonsdaleite, also called hexagonal diamond, is another carbon-based material that has been measured to be stronger than diamond in lab tests.
However, the material was only synthesized for a few nanoseconds and was created by smashing pieces of graphite together at 15,000 miles per hour.