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Tequila Can Make Synthetic Diamonds

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Tequila can be used to make a type of synthetic diamond, scientists have discovered.

When heated under pressure, the potent Mexican spirit produces diamond structures which are able to conduct electricity.

The crystals, used to make diamond film, have previously been made from a number of different chemicals, often including nitrogen.

But the experiment, highlighted by New Scientist magazine, is believed to be the first time that scientists have proved that any type of alcohol can be used to produce synthetic diamond.

Diamond film is tougher than silicon and is particularly useful in machines designed to operate in extreme temperatures or conditions.

However, the film is difficult to make and the process can prove expensive.

A team of scientists led by Javier Morales of the University of Nueva Leon near Monterrey in Mexico have now shown that the crystals can be created by heating the country's national drink.

For the experiment, the team heated 80 per cent proof  "tequila blanco", which has a short aging process and is bottled soon after distillation, in a low-pressure chamber.

The drink formed into crystals which tests later confirmed had a diamond structure and were able to conduct electricity.

"Some kinds of tequila seem naturally to have the right mix of atoms (to create diamond)," Professor Morales said.

However, he added that more research was needed to determine if using the drink could prove as faster or as more reliable to use than current raw materials used by industry.

Experts think that the use of alcohol to create diamond could have potential.

"The result is certainly funny, but the process seems reasonable," Rudolf Pfeiffer, professor of Physics from the University of Vienna in Austria, said.

"I don't know of any previous attempts to make diamonds from drinks," he added.

By Kate Devlin

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