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December 19, 2011

The properties and applications of nanodiamonds

Nature Nanotechnology - Nanodiamonds have excellent mechanical and optical properties, high surface areas and tunable surface structures. They are also non-toxic, which makes them well suited to biomedical applications. Here we review the synthesis, structure, properties, surface chemistry and phase transformations of individual nanodiamonds and clusters of nanodiamonds. In particular we discuss the rational control of the mechanical, chemical, electronic and optical properties of nanodiamonds through surface doping, interior doping and the introduction of functional groups. These little gems have a wide range of potential applications in tribology, drug delivery, bioimaging and tissue engineering, and also as protein mimics and a filler material for nanocomposites.


Structure of a single nanodiamond particle






To synthesize nanodiamonds, explosives with a negative oxygen balance (for example a mix of 60 wt% TNT (C6H2(NO2)3CH3) and 40 wt% hexogen (C3H6N6O6)) are detonated in a closed metallic chamber in an atmosphere of N2, CO2


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