Technology: Say It with Sewage Gas

A new way to make diamonds

The medieval alchemists who tried to turn base metals into gold had the right idea, but they may have set their sights too low. Using modern techniques, scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have accomplished an even more amazing transformation: they have turned sewage gas into diamonds.

Diamonds, the crystalline form of carbon, are usually formed when organic solids are subjected to intense heat and pressures. But under the right conditions, the glittering crystals can also be manufactured from a carbon- rich gas -- something the Navy's lab has in abundant supply. Its facilities abut Washington's giant Blue Plains Waste...

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