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Properties of diamond under hydrostatic pressures up to 140 GPa


Diamond is the archetypal covalent material. Each atom in an sp3 configuration is bonded to four nearest neighbours. Because of its remarkable properties, diamond has been extensively studied1. And yet our knowledge of the properties of diamond under very high pressure is still incomplete. Although diamond is known to be the preferred allotrope of carbon at high pressure, the possibility of producing under pressure high-density polymorphs of diamond, including metallic forms, has been discussed2,3,4. Structural changes have already been reported in diamond under non-hydrostatic pressures around 150 GPa and large deformation5. However, measurements6,7,8 of the properties of diamond under hydrostatic pressure have been limited to below 40 GPa. Here, we report accurate measurements of the volume and of the optical phonon frequency of diamond under hydrostatic pressure up to 140 GPa. We show that diamond is more compressible than currently expected. By combining the volume and the frequency pressure shifts, we deduce that diamond remains very stable under pressure: it is a Gruneisen solid up to at least 140 GPa, and the covalent bond is even slightly strengthened under pressure. Finally, the optical phonon frequency versus pressure is calibrated here to be used as a pressure gauge for diamond anvil cell studies in the multi-megabar range.

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Figure 1: Raman and X-ray spectra at the maximum pressure under investigation, 140 GPa.
Figure 2: Pressure dependence of the volume of natural diamond.
Figure 3: Raman frequency of the LTO optical phonon of diamond, ωLTO, versus pressure.
Figure 4: Logarithmic plot of the LTO phonon frequency versus volume.


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X-ray diffraction measurements were done at the ESRF (European Synchotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France). We thank M. Mezouar and M. Hanfland for their experimental help on ID30 and ID09 beamlines, and W. Holzapfel for discussions on the validity of the ruby pressure scale at high pressure.

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Correspondence to Paul Loubeyre.

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Occelli, F., Loubeyre, P. & LeToullec, R. Properties of diamond under hydrostatic pressures up to 140 GPa. Nature Mater 2, 151–154 (2003).

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