We form periodic linear grooves in synthetic single-crystal diamond with femtosecond pulses at 800 nm. The grooves are 40 nm wide, 500 nm deep, up to 0.3 mm long, and have an average spacing of 146 7 nm. The grooves are perpendicular to the direction of the laser polarization and are formed below the ablation threshold. The submicrometer periodicity is caused by interference between a laser-induced plasma and the incident laser beam, which locally enhances the field at the surface so the ablation threshold is exceeded. Using Raman spectroscopy we find that the structures retain the original diamond composition.