The researchers were able to observe the transformation of hydrocarbons into carbon crystals.
American and Chinese scientists in the experiment reproduced the conditions within Uranus and Neptune. The researchers were able to observe the transformation of hydrocarbons into carbon crystals, which proves the existence in the depths of gas giants diamond rains. Article of astrophysicists published in the journal Nature Astromomy.
The experiment was conducted at SLAC National accelerator laboratory in the USA using a 3.2-kilometer linac source of synchrotron x-ray radiation. The high pressure required for crystallization was achieved by using two lasers — high-energy and x-ray free electron.
Two laser beams were simultaneously irradiated microscopic layer of polystyrene (made up of atoms of hydrogen and carbon) between two nanosized aluminum plates. Momentum with the changing intensity of the beam lasted for 10 nanoseconds. As a result, the sample appeared a shock wave which provoked the formation of diamonds from carbon. For their formation the researchers followed by using x-ray diffraction detector.
According to scientists, the experiment allowed us to simulate almost ideal conditions in the subsoil (10 thousand kilometers under the outer layer) of the gas giants where the pressure reaches 150 gigapascal (GPA) and a temperature of — about five thousand degrees Celsius. Uranus and Neptune have hydrocarbons, which, sinking to the lower layers, split into hydrogen and carbon. The latest atoms form crystals, turning into diamond rain.
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