Who are the laboratories that make diamonds

Artificially made: They grew the largest diamond in the world

Matthias Schreck loves the constant. He has been working at the University of Augsburg for 26 years. He helped set up the laboratories at the Chair of Experimental Physics, at that time scrambled over the roof to lay exhaust ducts, and built dark laboratories for optical experiments.

Other colleagues came and went, but the shock remained. Even with one topic, a single one. He has carried out around 25 research projects on this, he is a bit surprised that almost all of them were always approved, but above all he is grateful. He wanted something that stayed relevant, not a hip research topic that gave way to another after four or eight years of funding.

Now, after a quarter of a century, Schreck and two colleagues have finally succeeded in what they have been working on for so long. In their laboratory in Augsburg, the physicists have grown the world's largest diamond: 9.2 centimeters in diameter, a flat, shimmering disc, 155 carats. This gem, Schreck knew, would open up a whole new world.

Industry can do well with laboratory diamonds

Growing diamonds in the laboratory is hard work. That this is possible was shown for the first time in the early 1950s by researchers who simulated the conditions under which the gemstones were created in nature in the laboratory. Real diamonds grow in the earth at a depth of over 100 kilometers, at temperatures around 1500 degrees Celsius and under enormous pressure.

The scientists simulated all of this in the laboratory. And so, from carbon in the form of graphite, the material from which pencil leads are made, small crystals of diamond were created in the hydraulic press within several weeks. Synthetic diamonds like these already had a great advantage back then: unlike their natural counterparts, they were not found by chance or at great expense in former volcanic vents or washed out of them in rivers. And that's why you can count on laboratory diamonds when you need them.