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« Bio Risk Update | Main | Student Nano Interview »

May 26, 2009


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Carl Shulman

Once you can run one software program on a general-purpose computer, you're only a programming project away from any other program of comparable demands. Yet we still don't have robust AI. "Any medical miracle we can imagine" would require a vast amount of scientific effort to discover how to use the tools. Cheaper and more effective instrumentation would expedite it, but not bypass it.

Brian wang

The Carnegie institute of Washington claim the ability to use cvd to make kilocarat diamonds

They would need to run the growth process for about a year. It can be done with a large growth chamber

1000 carats is about 7 ounces so one of is about 5000 carats

Extrapolation of existing tech can make a one foot long diamond rod

Paul S

So what IS your timeline to fabricators of that size?



Single crystal diamond produced by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) at very high growth rates (up to 150 μm/h) has been successfully annealed without graphitization at temperatures up to 2200 °C and pressures <300 torr.

Carnegie Institute's Geophysical Laboratory could produce (starting in 2005) 10 carat (2 g) single-crystal diamonds rapidly (28 nm/s) by CVD, as well as colorless single-crystal diamonds.

Growth of colorless diamonds up to kilocarats is believed achievable using their method. Recently, their group has reported faster growth rates, up to 150 micrometers per hour (42 nm/s). 7 hours per millimeter.


Yu-fei Meng, Chih-shiue Yan, Joseph Lai, Szczesny Krasnicki, Haiyun Shu, Thomas Yu, Qi Liang, Ho-kwang Mao, and Russell Hemley of the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory used a method called chemical vapor deposition (CVD) to grow synthetic diamonds for their experiments. Unlike other methods, which mimic the high pressures deep within the earth where natural diamonds are formed, the CVD method produces single-crystal diamonds at low pressure. The resulting diamonds, which can be grown very rapidly, have precisely controlled compositions and comparatively few defects.

The most exciting aspect of this new annealing process is the unlimited size of the crystals that can be treated. The breakthrough will allow us to push to kilocarat diamonds of high optical quality” says coauthor Ho-kwang Mao. Because the method does not require a high pressure press, it promises faster processing of diamonds and more types of diamonds to be de-colored than current high-pressure annealing methods. There is also no restriction on the size of crystals or the number of crystals, because the method is not limited by the chamber size of a high pressure press. The microwave unit is also significantly less expensive than a large high-pressure apparatus.

Chris Phoenix

Carl: Yes, the technology would require lots of design to be able to use anywhere near its full potential. And current computers may simply not be fast enough to do robust AI.

Brian: Yes, bulk diamond can be done in other ways. The question is, though: once bulk diamond can be done *with molecular manufacturing* - what else can be done? That's a much more interesting question.

Paul: I'd be very surprised if *some* fabricator-building-fabricators wasn't developed by 2020. I don't know what chemistry (design space) it'll work in, or whether it'll be fast and efficient and inexpensive.

I could imagine a scenario where pure research produces a DNA fab-fab. And then everyone gets excited and invests in that, leaving a few pure researchers to bootstrap to a protein fab-fab. And then everyone invests in that, leaving a few researchers to push for diamondoid... and now it's 2022.

Or, I could easily imagine that someone, sometime in the next five years, spends $100,000 on a study of whether to spend $3M on a detailed roadmap toward diamondoid (or something similarly high-performance). The pre-roadmap study takes 9 months and comes back positive. The roadmap takes 15 months and comes back positive. They put in $10M to launch a speculative $200M project... and have full MM by 2018.

This accelerated process might have begun several years ago.


jewelry pendants

I'm thinking a foot long diamond rod would make for an interesting piece of jewelry!Good luck with it.

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