13th August 2003
Wired: The New Diamond Age. Two companies in the US have perfected techniques for creating cheap artificial diamonds, virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. The story of how they got there is riveting—retired army generals purchasing cold war soviet technology, veiled death threats to scientists at conferences and best of all, a very real threat to the De Beers diamond cartel / monopoly.
Interestingly, the most important application for the tecnology looks likely to be semi conductors. Diamonds can handle far higher temperatures than silicon, meaning chips so fast that silicon would just melt under the strain.
Personally though, I hope this development strikes a killing blow to the whole diamond industry. See Anil Dash for a good summary of why the world would be better off without it.
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