Long ago, ancient scientists attempted to master the craft of alchemy, or the mythical process of turning lead into gold.

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The discovery of Q-carbon reveals a new solid phase of carbon, or a different way of arranging carbon atoms.

Until now, graphite and diamond were the only known solid phases of carbon.

Q-carbon only forms under extreme conditions, making it unlikely to exist in nature except at the cores of some planets, study author Jay Narayan suggested in an interview with the .

The laser jolt melted the carbon, which then cooled rapidly to form a crystal lattice structure.

Depending on the energy levels and cooling period, the carbon would crystallize into either microscopic diamonds or Q-carbon.

The cooling process is known as “quenching,” and it’s also the inspiration behind the carbon structure’s name.

The process is also speedy, enabling the researchers to make a carat of diamonds in about 15 minutes.

Many New Properties Researchers at North Carolina State University used a laser to craft the new hardest rock on the block, which they named Q-carbon.

The novel substance possesses a host of useful properties, such as ferromagnetism, fluorescence and the ability to conduct electricity, making Q-carbon a potentially useful material for scientists and industrialists.