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A thin film of plastic was, for the first time ever, turned into tiny diamonds in the blink of an eye after being shot at with a laser beam.

Synthetic diamonds are valuable for their hardness and are used to make high-quality cutting and polishing tools, but equally so for their thermal conductivity, and electrical insulation.

Opening up synthetic diamond production from plastic could lead to more demand for water bottles and other containers which often end up in the sea.

The breakthrough also has implications for planetary science, and the researchers who managed this philosopher’s stone-like transformation said it sheds light on what goes on inside the ice giants Neptune and Uranus.

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