Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tequila Sunrise

Now, doing shooters may have a bit of bling involved...

"The key is that diamonds aren't made of anything special - the carbon in the Cartier stones could just as easily have been lead in a child's pencil. The important factor is how the atoms bond to each other. The Mexican team use a Pulsed Liquid Injection Chemical Vapor Deposition (PLICVD) system, which does exactly what it says in the name. Small squirts of a carbon-bearing liquid is pulsed into a special chamber, where it is evaporated into vapour which deposits its carbon as a diamond film onto a heated metal plate.

All you need to do is choose the liquid. Obviously you need carbon, but the other elements in the chemical cocktail are important...

Lucky, then, that tequila distillers have already done it. They carefully prepare the C2H6O of Ethanol, which you might notice has all three of the ingredients we want (with C in the minority), then dilute it further with distilled water (some more pure H2O goodness). One of the researchers, Luis Miguel Apátiga (soon to be known as Hero of Alcohology), bought a bottle of tequila to test if this would work, or if the extra agave-based additives would scupper the process. The answer: no it doesn't, and the team are now researching how other brands of tequila affect the procedure (and presumably high-fiving each other over finding a way to put "Crate of tequila" on a research expense form)"

Not to be outdone, Physorg has their take on this serendipitous bit of R&D as well.

"To dissipate any doubts, one morning on the way to the lab I bought a pocket-size bottle of cheap white tequila and we did some tests," Apátiga said. "We were in doubt over whether the great amount of chemicals present in tequila, other than water and ethanol, would contaminate or obstruct the process, it turned out to be not so. The results were amazing, same as with the ethanol and water compound, we obtained almost spherical shaped diamonds of nanometric size. There is no doubt; tequila has the exact proportion of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms necessary to form diamonds."

Shooters anyone? :)

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