Diamond is well known as the strongest of all natural materials, and with that strength comes another tightly bound property: brittleness. But now an international team of researchers has found that when grown in extremely small, needle-like forms, diamond can bend and stretch, much like rubber, and click back to its original shape.
This finding could open the door to a range of diamond-based devices for applications such as sensing, data storage, activation, biocompatible in vivo imaging, optoelectronics and drug delivery. For example, diamond has been investigated as a possible biocompatible carrier for the delivery of drugs in cancer cells.
The team showed that the narrow diamond needles, resembling the shape of the rubber tips at the end of some toothbrushes, but just a few hundred nanometers across, could be bent and stretched up to 9 percent without breaking and then reverting to their original configuration.
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