Properties of diamond under hydrostatic pressures up to 140 GPa

Nat Mater. 2003 Mar;2(3):151-4. doi: 10.1038/nmat831.


Diamond is the archetypal covalent material. Each atom in an sp(3) configuration is bonded to four nearest neighbours. Because of its remarkable properties, diamond has been extensively studied. And yet our knowledge of the properties of diamond under very high pressure is still incomplete. Although diamond is known to be the preferred allotrope of carbon at high pressure, the possibility of producing under pressure high-density polymorphs of diamond, including metallic forms, has been discussed. Structural changes have already been reported in diamond under non-hydrostatic pressures around 150 GPa and large deformation. However, measurements of the properties of diamond under hydrostatic pressure have been limited to below 40 GPa. Here, we report accurate measurements of the volume and of the optical phonon frequency of diamond under hydrostatic pressure up to 140 GPa. We show that diamond is more compressible than currently expected. By combining the volume and the frequency pressure shifts, we deduce that diamond remains very stable under pressure: it is a Gruneisen solid up to at least 140 GPa, and the covalent bond is even slightly strengthened under pressure. Finally, the optical phonon frequency versus pressure is calibrated here to be used as a pressure gauge for diamond anvil cell studies in the multi-megabar range.

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Diamond / chemistry*
  • Hydrostatic Pressure


  • Diamond