Scientists Turn Tequila into Diamonds

MEXICO CITY ~ Mexican scientists have turned the country’s national tipple tequila into diamonds, and are seeking applications for their discovery, with the crystals too small to be used in jewelry.

The tequila diamonds could be used to “detect radiation, coat cutting tools or, above all, as a substitute for silicon in the computer chips of the future,” Miguel Apatiga, one of three researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico who made the discovery this summer, said on Tuesday.

The scientists found that the heated vapor from tequila blanco, when deposited on a stainless steel base, can form diamond films.

They began experimenting some 13 years ago with synthetic diamonds – made by a technological process, as opposed to natural diamonds, produced by geological process – from gases like methane.

Later they produced diamonds from liquids, and then noticed that the ideal compound of 40 percent ethanol and 60 percent water was similar to the proportion used in tequila.

“One day I went to the campus shop and bought a bottle of cheap tequila. I used it under the same experiment conditions as for a test with ethanol and water and obtained positive results,” Apatiga said.

The diamonds formed were small crystals, too tiny to be used in jewelry.

“It would be very difficult to obtain diamonds for a ring,” Apatiga said.

But the scientists are now investigating other applications for tequila diamonds.

“It’s true that the fact it’s tequila has a certain charm. It’s a Mexican product and Mexican researchers developed the project … but a businessman can say to me: ‘Great, how pretty! But how can I use it?'” Apatiga said.

After the first test with a common make of tequila blanco, the group is now studying the effects of more select tequilas to find the best adapted to the surprising transformation.

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