Shock-formed carbon materials with intergrown sp3- and sp2-bonded nanostructured units

Péter Németh, Hector J. Lancaster, Christoph G. Salzmann, Kit McColl, Zsolt Fogarassy, Laurence A.J. Garvie, Levente Illés, Béla Pécz, Mara Murri, Furio Corá, Rachael L. Smith, Mohamed Mezouar, Christopher A. Howard, Paul F. McMillan

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13 Citations (SciVal)


Studies of dense carbon materials formed by bolide impacts or produced by laboratory compression provide key information on the high-pressure behavior of carbon and for identifying and designing unique structures for technological applications. However, a major obstacle to studying and designing these materials is an incomplete understanding of their fundamental structures. Here, we report the remarkable structural diversity of cubic/hexagonally (c/h) stacked diamond and their association with diamond-graphite nanocomposites containing sp3-/sp2-bonding patterns, i.e., diaphites, from hard carbon materials formed by shock impact of graphite in the Canyon Diablo iron meteorite. We show evidence for a range of intergrowth types and nanostructures containing unusually short (0.31 nm) graphene spacings and demonstrate that previously neglected or misinterpreted Raman bands can be associated with diaphite structures. Our study provides a structural understanding of the material known as lonsdaleite, previously described as hexagonal diamond, and extends this understanding to other natural and synthetic ultrahard carbon phases. The unique three-dimensional carbon architectures encountered in shock-formed samples can place constraints on the pressure–temperature conditions experienced during an impact and provide exceptional opportunities to engineer the properties of carbon nanocomposite materials and phase assemblages.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2203672119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number30
Early online date22 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. We are grateful to Paul F. McMillan for his contribution to help with this work and lasting contributions to the wider field of diamond research. We acknowledge the staff and use of the facilities in the Themis Titan HRTEM facility located at the Institute of Technical Physics and Materials Science, Centre for Energy Research. P.N. and Z.F. acknowledge financial support from the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office

Funding Information:
project NKFIH_KH126502 and the János Bolyai Research Scholarship. B.P. acknowledges support of the projects VEKOP-2.3.3-15-2016-00002 and TKP2021-NKTA-05. L.A.J.G. was supported by NASA Emerging Worlds grant NNX17AE56G. P.F.M., C.A.H., and F.C. received funding from the EU Graphene Flagship under Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program grant agreements 785219-GrapheneCore2 and 881603-GrapheneCore3. R.L.S. received a DTP studentship from the University College London (UCL) Department of Chemistry. M.Murri received support from the Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research. This work made use of the ARCHER UK National Supercomputing Service ( via K.M. and F.C.’s membership in the HEC Materials Chemistry Consortium, which is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (EP/L000202). K.M. and F.C. gratefully acknowledge HPC resources provided by the UK Materials and Molecular Modelling Hub, which is partially funded by EPSRC (EP/P020194/1), and UCL


  • cubic/hexagonally stacked diamond
  • diaphite
  • shock-formed carbon
  • ultrahard material

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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