Detonation “Nanodiamond” (DND) or nanodiamonds formed through a process of synthesis using ultrasonic cavitation have a tendency to agglomerate (form into a mass and cluster or bond) making consistency of product difficult to achieve. Many attempts have been made to deagglomerate nanodiamonds using acids and water. However, none of these attempts have produced consistent results.
This has been a long-standing and little understood problem which makes it difficult to achieve the full potential of nanodiamond as a product. World output is understood to be several hundreds of thousands of Carats per annum and there are many new and novel applications in a growing market area for producers.
Scientists at Newcastle University’s School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, have developed a method for the total deagglomeration of nanodiamonds. The researchers have developed a new, simple method for the alkylation of nanodiamond which gives a complete powder deaggregation in nanodiamond. The thick slurry resulting from the process is subject to a patent-pending extraction technique to separate functionalised diamonds.
Using X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) the diamonds have been observed to be graphite free (only sp3 is present in the XPS spectrum). High resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) has been used to prove that the nanodiamonds are separated.
Consistent production of nanodiamond could result in their wider use in applications in areas such as engineering (e.g. additives for engine oils; dry lubricants for the metal industry; reinforcing fillers for plastics and rubbers) and health care (e.g. toughened orthopaedic implants and surface coatings; pharmaceuticals for targeted drug delivery (particularly in chemotherapy); dental applications, veneers, fillings and treatments).
The invention is available for co-development and/or license.
Intellectual Property Status
A GB patent application has been filed for this technology. The patent has been filed in a number of international territories and granted in South Africa.
Title: Method for the separation of diamond particle clusters
Application no: GB1207327.6
Priority Date: 27/04/2012
Dr Tim Blackburn, Science Agriculture & Engineering Enterprise Team, Research and Enterprise Services, First Floor, Devonshire Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK