# What Makes Diamonds Difficult to Produce?

Having seen an answer over on Worldbuilding about very strong/dense wood that suggested artificially creating some enzymes that would manufacture diamond/graphene as the cellular binding materials in the tree, I said to myself, "Hold on, I know this won't work: creating diamonds requires high temperature and/or pressures...doesn't it?"

But I was unable to locate any information as to why this is the case: that is, what physical property of the bonds or arrangement of the carbon atoms dictates the intense pressures needed to cause the formation of the crystal lattice? Or is there really nothing standing in the way of a chemical process (i.e. an enzyme constructing it a few atoms at a time, albeit with large energy expenditures and slow timescales) that would do it other than "we don't know how to make that."

The covenant bond energy between two carbon atoms seems pretty high, I'll admit, at 348 kJ/mol, but it's less than some other bonds, say Carbon and Hydrogen at 419 kJ/mol (source). So it doesn't seem like that's the limiting factor. I do know that there is energy stored in the organization of the lattice itself, but I don't know how much that contributes; Wikipedia only helpfully notes that the energy is "greater in materials like diamond than sugar."

This page notes that diamonds are stable because the phase boundary has a high energy threshold (but not what causes it or how big it is) but the phase diagram lead me to the CVD Diamond and this company's FAQ again notes that the difficulty is in the lattice, but again skips over the underlying reason and the specific energy levels involved. Then there is this question where John Rennie notes that most large molecules are difficult to make and that for carbon nano tubes specifically, it's largely due to the fact that carbon isn't soluble in anything (useful).

• I've been involved in a research group using synthetic diamond to encapsulate electrical diagnostic circuits in diamond crystals: I understood some of those words and all I can say is, "That sounds like an awesome job." That said, I'm not sure I completely understood your answer, but I think I got the gist of it. – Draco18s May 8 '17 at 19:28