Diamonds have a firm foothold in our lexicon. Their many properties often serve as superlatives for quality, clarity and hardiness. Aside from the popularity of this rare material in ornamental and decorative use, these precious stones are also highly valued in industry where they are used to cut and polish other hard materials and build radiation detectors.
More than a decade ago, a new property was uncovered in diamonds when high concentrations of boron are introduced to it — superconductivity. Superconductivity occurs when two electrons with opposite spin form a pair (called a Cooper pair), resulting in the electrical resistance of the material being zero. This means a large supercurrent can flow in the material, bringing with it the potential for advanced technological applications. Yet, little work has been done since to investigate and characterise the nature of a diamond’s superconductivity and therefore its potential applications.