MICHAEL W. DAVIDSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL W. DAVIDSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Polarised light micrograph of a thin film of diamond. Reflected light creates patterns off the giant molecular structure of diamond. In diamond, composed of covalently bonded carbon atoms, each carbon atom may be thought of as being at the centre of a regular tetrahedron surrounded by four other carbon atoms whose centres are corners of the tetrahedron. Thus, each carbon atom partici- pates in four strong bonds. It is this arrangement and nature of strong bonds which makes diamond one of the hardest natural substances. As such, apart from its use as gemstones, diamond is used in industry for high-quality abrasive, cutting and drilling equipment.
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