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Diamonds sent in space for corrosion check

Technion Israel Institute Of Technology : 15 January, 2010  (Company News)
Two diamonds grown at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, have been sent into space by the Atlantis space shuttle, and will remain in space for one year to be checked for suitability in future applications in satellites. Future use of diamonds in space could be for clear optical coatings that conduct heat, detect radiation, and other uses, including to develop a diamond coating for space environment applications.
Diamonds sent in space for corrosion check
The two diamonds were taken to the International Space Station in December and after a year will be returned to Earth and studied at the Technion to establish what impact the damaging space environment has had on them. The scientists are particularly interested to see if the atomic oxygen that corrodes carbon-based materials has any affect on them, as diamonds are supposed to be resistant to a corrosive chemical environment.

Technion doctoral student Ze’ev Shpilman is researching the interaction between the simulated space environment created in the lab and the diamond, which is the hardest material in nature for his thesis. His work is being carried out under the direction of Prof. Alon Hoffman and Dr. Joan Adler of the Technion, and Dr. Irina Gouzman of the Soreq Nuclear Research Center, working in cooperation with Prof. Tim Minton from Montana State University in the US who transferred the two diamond samples grown in the Technion labs to NASA.

In an article published by Prof. Hoffman, Dr. Gouzman and Ze’ev Shpilman, in the scientific journal “Applied Physics Letters”, they said that if diamonds are grown in the lab in a specific direction, slowly and methodically, they will be more durable under the space environment.

On Earth, there are already uses for diamond coatings that are very durable and conduct heat well. Prof Alon Hoffman of the Technion explained: “In order to send something into space, we first need to know everything that will happen to it there. Therefore, we simulated the space environment in the lab and found that the diamonds held up in a simulated space environment. Now, we are checking to see if this will happen in space.”
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