ChevronTexaco Produces Diamonds from Petroleum - New Product

ChevronTexaco MolecularDiamond Technologies, a unit of ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures LLC, announced today that it has successfully been able to produce gram quantities of a new class of molecular building blocks called higher diamondoids. These diamondoids, the discovery of which was announced previously, are available immediately for application research and development.

"This is an important step in furthering advances in the fast-growing, actively funded field of nanotechnology," said Waqar Qureshi, Ph.D. and vice president of ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures. "Having a pure nanomaterial produced in sufficient quantities is essential to the advancement of commercial application development."

The higher diamondoids produced by ChevronTexaco MolecularDiamond Technologies have four or more crystal cages of the diamond lattice. MolecularDiamond Technologies has also produced large quantities of the valuable lower diamondoids, diamantane and triamantane. These are diamond molecules with two and three crystal lattice cages, respectively. Although di- and triamantane can be synthesized in laboratories they have until now been produced in small quantities at very high cost.

Researchers working on MolecularDiamond Technologies diamondoid production used core process technologies to scale-up production of diamondoids from petroleum in quantities sufficient for application research and development. As a result, for the first time new research in various fields can be conducted with the isolation and production of higher diamondoids. Higher diamondoids have exceptional properties which make them a potential valuable material for research in pharmaceuticals, optics, and microelectronics.

One of the co-discoverers of higher diamondoids in petroleum, Bob Carlson, Ph.D., said, "Nanotechnology researchers have for years imagined what they might be able to make with higher diamondoids, but until now they have been able to explore those ideas only with molecular simulations studies. We can now conduct applied and basic research with these new nanomaterials."

Higher diamondoids begin with the tetramantanes (four diamond crystal cages). MolecularDiamond Technologies has isolated separately gram quantities of two different structures of tetramantane molecules and one pentamantane molecule (five diamond crystal cages) in pure crystalline form. Tetramantanes and pentamantanes have not been available for application development until now. Also available are research quantities of other higher diamondoids, up to heptamantane.

Posted 4th May 2004

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