The US Air Force has big plans for its future generation of fighter jets, which will apparently have the ability to generate high-powered microwaves (HPM). This would allow American pilots to disrupt any enemy plane's electrical systems, but would also expose their own craft to the same risks. That's why the Air Force is considering using 80-carat diamond-based windows on these fighters, so as to ensure that the radiation only reaches their targets, and causes no damages among friendly aircrafts.
Thus far, this branch of the military has been scarce on the details about the new technology it's planning to employ on future airplanes, but they did say that the hazards they would pose to the US planes and pilots would be exactly the same as the damages they would inflict on enemy aircraft. Still, officials announced that diamonds are one of the considered options for nullifying that undesired effect, and ensuring the safety of the American jets and pilots.
“In general, windows such as these are required to shield sensors or sources from outside environments. Diamond is special because it has a very high thermal conductivity, a very wide transparency range, and is strong. These three qualities are difficult to find in any other material,” explained physicist and project manager William Mitchell, who is currently working at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio.
The new windows, the official said, would not be made from a single crystal, but from large amounts of tiny ones, forced together with various construction techniques. The only condition that the smaller diamonds have to fulfill is for them to be much smaller than the wavelengths of visible light. Mitchell says that, as long as that happens, the material's superior optical qualities would be preserved, at the same time making the other two traits available to the pilot and the craft itself.
Also, natural diamonds will not be used in the process. All the required pieces will be engineered in the lab from scratch. Scientists will spray carbon atom layers on a silicon substrate, in a process known as chemical vapor deposition. The thing is that the chamber in which the procedure will take place will be subjected to immense pressure, just like carbon is subjected to thousands upon thousands of tons of rock, deep in the Earth's crust, where the precious stones are naturally formed.