Lonsdaleite is faulted and twinned cubic diamond and does not exist as a discrete material

Peter Nemeth, Laurence Garvie, Toshihiro Aoki, Natalia Dubrovinskaia, Leonid Dubrovinsky, P R Buseck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lonsdaleite, also called hexagonal diamond, has been widely used as a marker of asteroidal impacts. It is thought to play a central role during the graphite-to-diamond transformation, and calculations suggest that it possesses mechanical properties superior to diamond. However, despite extensive efforts, lonsdaleite has never been produced or described as a separate, pure material. Here we show that defects in cubic diamond provide an explanation for the characteristic d-spacings and reflections reported for lonsdaleite. Ultrahigh-resolution electron microscope images demonstrate that samples displaying features attributed to lonsdaleite consist of cubic diamond dominated by extensive {113} twins and {111} stacking faults. These defects give rise to nanometre-scale structural complexity. Our findings question the existence of lonsdaleite and point to the need for re-evaluating the interpretations of many lonsdaleite-related fundamental and applied studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5447
JournalNature communications
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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