Scientists at Mexico’s National Autonomous University of Mexico were actually experimenting with a variety of organic solutions, such as acetone and methanol, and these experiments revealed that diluting ethanol in water could result in high-quality diamond films.
The great Homer Simpson once raised a toast – “To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” This is turning out to be true in more ways than he could have ever imagined.
Mexican scientists have recently performed a remarkable experiment, the results of which are nothing less than spectacular. The beloved Mexican drink, tequila will now have a much more practical use than spicing up a party and making you temporarily forget all the problems in life. This alternative function is not inconsequential either… Tequila can actually be used to produce diamonds! Unbelievable, isn’t it?
What is Tequila?
Not that this type of liquor needs any introduction, but we should still take a look at the basics. Tequila is a type of mescal (a distilled alcoholic beverage native to Mexico) that is made from the blue agave plant. The core of the plant, rich in sugars, is hydrolyzed in an oven, and the juices derived from the process are then allowed to ferment before being distilled two or three times. Tequilas are sold after two distillation processes (silver tequila) or they’re allowed to age in wooden barrels before being sold. However, scientists were able to use any kind of tequila, even ones as cheap as $3 a bottle, to make diamond crystals.
How Do They Manage to Make Diamonds from Tequila?
Scientists at Mexico’s National Autonomous University of Mexico were actually experimenting with a variety of organic solutions, such as acetone and methanol, and these experiments revealed that diluting ethanol in water could result in high-quality diamond films. That’s when the idea struck them… the ideal combination of 40% ethanol and 60% water that they were looking for was right in front of them – good old tequila!
Those ingenious gentlemen heated up some local tequila and turned it into vapor. They heated that vapor another 200 degrees Celsius and effectively broke down its molecular structure, which resulted in solid diamond crystals of roughly 100-400 nm. These crystals were then allowed to settle as a uniform sheet on top of silicon or stainless steel trays.
Does this Mean that Diamonds Are Going to Be Inexpensive?
Not exactly…there’s definitely a catch. While these diamonds created in high temperatures are virtually free of impurities, the crystals are much too tiny to be used to make jewelry. These crystals are so tiny, in fact, that they can only be seen under an electron microscope. However, these hard and heat-resistant diamond crystals do have some spectacular industrial applications. For example, they can be used to make high-power semiconductors, ultra-fine cutting instruments and radiation detectors.
Doesn’t the prospect of making diamonds from tequila sound a lot better than using that tequila to forget a night of your life? Scientists have come this far, so perhaps it won’t be long before they figure out how to make diamonds that are suitable for other purposes – including making jewelry. Wouldn’t that be something… a world where diamonds are cheap and tequila has a second purpose in society!