A newly created form of carbon has captured the crown of world's strongest known material. A team of researchers in Germany and France made the new material using a specialized, multijawed anvil that simultaneously squeezed and heated a powder of all-carbon molecules known as buckyballs.
At 200,000 times atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 2,500 kelvins, the powder coalesced into an extraordinarily hard, dense, black plug about the size of a poppy seed. Electron microscope images revealed that the new material is composed of randomly arranged diamond needles no more than 20 nanometers wide but up to a micrometer long. Natalia Dubrovinskaia of the University of Bayreuth in Germany and her colleagues describe this material, composed of what the