Editorial Feature

What are Nanodiamonds?

Nanodiamonds are nanometer-size diamonds with unique structures and characteristics that make them useful for many industrial applications. Research is expanding the range of synthesis methods of nanodiamonds as well as increasing the scope of their applications, promoting a rising global market.

What are Nanodiamonds?

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This article discusses the background, synthesis, and applications of nanodiamonds. How research is transforming nanodiamond use will be covered, as well as the challenges and future of nanodiamonds in nanotechnology.

What are Nanodiamonds?

A nanodiamond is a diamond particle with a size in the nanometer range or one-millionth of a millimeter.

Nanodiamonds are made of a diamond core and outer layers of amorphous carbon. The shape, core, and surface are the most critical aspects of the structure of nanodiamonds. 

Nanodiamonds were discovered over the course of 19 years, with initial research taking place between 1963 – 1982. Scientists noticed the presence of nanodiamonds where explosives with carbon-based triggers were used in nuclear explosions. Since then, nanodiamonds have gained worldwide interest.

Subsequently, nanodiamonds were produced by igniting explosives in tightly sealed spaces under extreme heat and pressure. Currently, other methods to synthesize nanodiamonds besides explosion are used, such as ion or laser bombardment, electrochemical or ultrasound synthesis, microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition methods, and hydrothermal synthesis.

What are the Applications of Nanodiamonds?

Nanodiamonds have unique structures with unique physicochemical properties that confer advantages over other commonly used materials. They are very sensitive to environmental chemical changes, have poor water solubility, low fluorescence, and useful thermal and chemical consistency.

Nanodiamonds are used as antimicrobial agents and delivery vehicles for vaccines and drugs because they are biocompatible and small in size and shape, enabling them to penetrate cells without causing damage (Torres Sangiao et al., 2019).

Nanodiamonds also possess many desirable mechanical properties. Compared to other nanomaterials, their properties include superior hardness, better chemical stability, and thermal conductivity.

Nanodiamonds can also resist harsh environments and have a lower friction coefficient. Such characteristics facilitate nanodiamond use in batteries, metal plating, chromatography, proteomics, magnetic resonance imaging, mass spectroscopy, capacitors, surgical implants, lubricants, nanocomposites, nanocoatings, and nanosensors (Mochalin et al., 2012).

What are Nanodiamonds?

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Research on Nanodiamonds

Since discovering nanodiamonds, researchers have investigated novel synthesis methods to broaden their scope of specific applications by extending their properties through functionalization and coupling with other nanomaterials.

For example, to improve the synthesis process, a study published in the ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces Journal proposes a novel method for salt-assisted ultrasonic de-aggregation of nanodiamonds into single-digit particles. These particles are stable in an aqueous colloidal solution across a broad pH range that is simple, affordable, and contaminant-free.

A variety of functional groups, biomolecules, or polymers can be connected to nanodiamonds through surface functionalization. It is typically accomplished by covalent and non-covalent attachment of substances of interest to the nanodiamond.

Recently, a study published in the Composites Communication Journal reported using functionalized nanodiamonds to Improve the thermal conductivity of poly(vinyl alcohol) composites. In the same light, in another study, the authors show that modifying scaffolds with specially formulated diamond nanoparticles is an effective way to enhance the properties of bone implants and open new avenues for bone tissue engineering.

A recent study by Ronzhin and colleagues published in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research reported the synthesis of a new composite material that is based on alumina nanofibers and nanodiamonds that can be used to detect phenol in aqueous media. In addition, they were able to show that the composite was reusable for at least a year.

These studies show that there is a huge potential for nanodiamonds in many fields to provide alternative solutions with high performance.

What is the Status of the Nanodiamonds Industry?

According to Strategic Market Research, the market for nanodiamonds was worth up to USD 110.31 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.91% to reach USD 371.48 million in 2030. The Asia Pacific region currently has the highest growth rates in the global nanodiamonds industry.

Growth in this market is mainly powered by its applications in the electronics, biosensing, bioimaging, drug delivery, and biomedical devices industries (LLP, 2022). Based on application, the top three leading areas in the nanodiamonds market are finishing polishing, friction coating, and oil compounds.

The top companies that have the highest operations within the market are CARBODEON LTD. OY, Kerridge Commercial Systems Limited, Ray Techniques Ltd, Daicel Corporation, SINO-CRYSTAL MICRO-DIAMOND, NVISION IMAGING Technologies GmbH, to name a few.

These trends show that the industry is quite well established. Therefore, as the applications and supply of nanodiamonds continue to increase, the growth of these markets will be significantly influenced.

What are the Challenges in Nanodiamond Applications?

Nanodiamonds certainly have promising applications in nanotechnology, which continue to increase, but there are a few challenges that continue to limit their use and widespread application. There are still difficulties in producing nanodiamonds less than 4nm in size, challenges in large volume manufacturing of uniform particles, and poor control over their surface chemistry.

Amongst these are also several unanswered questions about the structural characteristics of nanodiamonds and their behavior which limit control over their properties and manufacturing volumes.

What is the Future of Nanodiamonds in Nanotechnology?

The applications of nanodiamonds are increasing both in-depth and in the breath. Innovative research is opening avenues for broad exploration of the potential of nanodiamonds in several fields. Due to their numerous innovative features, which set them apart from other nanomaterials, nanodiamonds are anticipated to be a standout choice in many sectors.

The future of nanodiamonds will also depend on creating safe, non-hazardous synthesis techniques that can appropriately manage purity, nanocrystal sizes, and nitrogen vacancy flaws while guaranteeing high uniformity.

Continue reading: Multifunctional Fluorescent Nanodiamonds for HeLa Cell Drug Delivery.

References and Further Reading

Li, L., Qin, Y., Wang, H., Li, M., Song, G., Wu, Y., Wei, X., Ali, Z., Yi, J., Song, S., Lin, C.-T., Jiang, N., Yu, J. (2021) Improving thermal conductivity of poly(vinyl alcohol) composites by using functionalized nanodiamond. Composites Communications 23, p. 100596. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coco.2020.100596

LLP, S.M.R. (2022) Nanodiamonds Market worth USD 371.48 Million by 2030, Registering a CAGR of 12.91% [Online]. GlobeNewswire News Room. URL https://www.globenewswire.com/en (accessed 5 September 2022).

Mochalin, V.N., Shenderova, O., Ho, D., Gogotsi, Y. (2012) The properties and applications of nanodiamonds. Nature Nanotechechnology 7, pp. 11–23. https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2011.209

Qin, J.-X., Yang, X.-G., Lv, C.-F., Li, Y.-Z., Liu, K.-K., Zang, J.-H., Yang, X., Dong, L., Shan, C.-X., (2021) Nanodiamonds: Synthesis, properties, and applications in nanomedicine. Materials & Design 210, p. 110091. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2021.110091

Ronzhin, N.O., Posokhina, E.D., Mikhlina, E.V., Mikhlin, Y.L., Simunin, M.M., Tarasova, L.S., Vorobyev, S.A., Bondar, V.S., Ryzhkov, I.I. (2021) A new composite material based on alumina nanofibers and detonation nanodiamonds: synthesis, characterization, and sensing application. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 23, p. 199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-021-05309-y

Torres Sangiao, E., Holban, A.M., Gestal, M.C. (2019) Applications of Nanodiamonds in the Detection and Therapy of Infectious Diseases. Materials (Basel) 12, p. 1639. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12101639

Turcheniuk, K., Trecazzi, C., Deeleepojananan, C., Mochalin, V.N. (2016) Salt-Assisted Ultrasonic Deaggregation of Nanodiamond. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 8, pp. 25461–25468. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.6b08311

Danilenko, V.V. On the history of the discovery of nanodiamond synthesis. Phys. Solid State 46, pp. 595–599 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1134/1.1711431

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Blaise Manga Enuh

Written by

Blaise Manga Enuh

Blaise Manga Enuh has primary interests in biotechnology and bio-safety, science communication, and bioinformatics. Being a part of a multidisciplinary team, he has been able to collaborate with people of different cultures, identify important project needs, and work with the team to provide solutions towards the accomplishment of desired targets. Over the years he has been able to develop skills that are transferrable to different positions which have helped his accomplish his work.

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