Diamonds are turning out to be industry's best friend these days, and, in a reversal of the old adage, the smaller the diamond, the better. In fact, thin films of tiny diamonds applied to mundane substances, such as iron, are revolutionizing businesses that make products as diverse as drills and cutting tools, stereo loudspeaker tweeters, heat sinks, sunglasses, prosthetic devices, and components for scientific instruments.

The United States and Japan are the leading players in this rapidly growing technology, which takes advantage of the diamond's unique properties. Diamond is the hardest known substance; it conducts heat more quickly than copper; it has a surface similar to Teflon; it carries sound at high velocity; and it resists most chemical substances. Diamond is not an abundant material, however, so to take best advantage of its exceptional qualities it is combined with less unusual and less expensive substances.

Country Percentage*
United States 41.7...

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