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Diamond: More Than Just a Gemstone

Scientists at the University of Warwick are exploiting the extreme properties of man-made diamond in exciting new technologies, developing diamond based solutions for engineering, electronics, sensing and biomedical industries, to name just a few.diamond exhib

The researchers, from Warwick and elsewhere in the UK, are presenting their research at the Royal Society’s annual Summer Science Exhibition which opens to the public officially today (5 July 2016).

This research is made possible due to the unique carbon structure of diamond which gives rise to its amazing properties. For example, synthetic diamond is being used to dissipate heat in electrical devices and to transmit clear sound in audio systems because its strong bonds and rigid structure (which also makes it the hardest bulk material known to man) allows both heat and sound to travel through it faster than through any other material.

By growing diamond in the lab, the properties of diamond can be manipulated to our advantage. For example, if boron is added during growth, it turns the diamond from electrically insulating to conducting. This means that electrochemical sensors could be made to order, with all the beneficial properties of diamond such as resistance to corrosion. This is important for a wide range of applications including monitoring environmental pollutants in the water system.

Professor Julie Macpherson from the University of Warwick's Chemistry department said, “when people think of diamond, they often think of sparkling jewellery. We aim to challenge that view, showing that diamond can be much more than just a gemstone.”

Ella Bentin, from Diamond Science and Technology Centre explains, “diamond research is becoming increasingly prevalent, with a variety of industries recognising the vast potential of diamond as a material for engineering and scientific applications.”

Visitors to the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition will be able to get their hands on synthetic diamond, discovering the amazing properties of diamond including its thermal conductivity (cutting ice with diamond), exploring how by changing the diamond growth recipe diamond can be made to conduct electricity, sensing the earth’s magnetic field, as well as having the opportunity to make their own ‘diamond’.

Follow the exhibition on Twitter: @RoyalSocDiamond or visit the website at


The Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition is weeklong festival of cutting edge science from across the UK, featuring 22 exhibits which give a glimpse into the future of science and tech. Visitors can meet the scientists who are on hand at their exhibits, take part in activities and live demonstrations and attend talks. Entrance is free.

Further information:

Luke Walton, International Press Officer

Tel. 024 76 150 868 / 07824 540 863