Onions

I feel a bit like an alchemist, having been reading all about turning onions into diamonds… Not the kind of onions that go nicely in chilli con carne, but graphitic onions. Little tiny carbon particles that are made up of fullerenes, layered one inside the other, like matrioshka dolls or (as should be well established by now) onions. These little things are interesting because if you irradiate them under the right conditions (lab experiments use a high temperature and an electron beam for an hour or two), they crystallise into diamonds. On the flipside, if you anneal nanodiamonds they revert to being onions. I’m not quite sure how significant this is, but it’s definitely worth investigating further.

It’s interesting how much knowledge you can acquire in the space of a week or so. For instance Elias 1 (the star studded with nanodiamonds), so I’ve discovered, is actually a triple system with a red dwarf in tow. I’m not sure that dwarf has much effect on the system though — it’s over 11 times as far away from the central pair as Pluto is from the sun. In the close binary pair too, the smaller of the stars is a lot smaller, but it’s still up to twice as big as the Sun!

In the meantime, I have solid state chemistry notes to be reading (ah, pillared clays…), and a module to be registered for. For the latter part, it would be helpful if the Academic Affairs office ever answered their phone!

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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