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COURIER JOURNAL

How real diamonds can be grown in a lab - a Louisville lab, to be precise

At a private lab near the University of Louisville, researchers are closely monitoring a rare form of manufacturing  - creating diamonds.

Using glass lenses to peer inside the chamber of a reactor hissing with intense heat and burning gases, they see shimmering, bright purple-pink light hovering around white squares of diamond slivers, the start of a 1 and 2 carat gem.

What's unfolding in the lab is a high-stakes test, the first of its kind in Kentucky, aimed at creating the prized stones at scale and potentially launching a new company in the surging field of lab grown gems and other diamond technology. Kentucky Advanced Materials Manufacturing, the lab's owners, invested $1.5 million in the demonstration site -and are footing a $6,000 a month utility bill - while researchers from U of  L’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research navigate the technical challenges.

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UOFL NEWS

UofL’s Conn Center partners with local company to mine diamonds above ground

A technological marvel is happening in Kentucky – growing diamonds above ground using reactors that mimic what happens in Mother Nature over a million years, but in a much more controlled environment. The company, Kentucky Advanced Materials Manufacturing (KAMM), recently implemented a pilot plant/demonstration facility in Louisville in collaboration with UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research.

This initial facility is meant to serve as the foundation of a billion-dollar worldwide effort to grow large diamond stones for a myriad of applications, including gems. KAMM is the first to establish such capabilities in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and one of only a handful of global players in this highly advanced field.

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UOFL NEWS

Diamonds on demand

A new Conn Center project shines light on the power of diamonds beyond being shiny baubles.

UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research partnered with Kentucky Advanced Materials Manufacturing (KAMM) to produce lab-grown diamonds at a pilot plant/demonstration facility in Louisville. The facility is meant to serve as the foundation of a billion-dollar worldwide effort to grow large diamond stones for a myriad of applications beyond just jewelry.

“We’ve always known the potential of diamond as a material,” said Hank Paxton, Conn Center research and development engineer. The center has conducted research on lab-grown diamonds since 1997 and has a large interest in advanced materials, such as diamonds, for industrial applications. Diamonds are prized for industrial applications including power devices and biosensors because of their superior hardness, thermal conductivity and electrical/ optical properties.

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