Chevron MolecularDiamond Technologies (MDT) and Stanford University have announced a research programme to further the development and application of a new class of nanomaterials derived from crude oil.
The four-year research programme will foster the development of diamondoids, a diamond-like molecule that has potential applications in a variety of industries.
Diamondoids, each less than a billionth of a billionth of a carat in size, offer distinct advantages as a new class of nanomaterials, said Dr. Frederick Lam, business development director for MDT.
‘Diamondoids derived from petroleum have the potential to affect multiple industries such as energy, electronics, biopharmaceuticals, even consumer goods,’ Lam said.
‘Diamondoids are exciting materials as they have the novelty of both diamond and nanostructures,’ said Zhi-Xun Shen, director of Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials and professor of physics at Stanford.
‘The breakthrough by researchers at MolecularDiamond Technologies in isolating diamondoids in large quantities from petroleum makes it possible for in-depth scientific exploration and large-scale applications.”
The research program will initially focus on understanding the fundamental electronic properties of diamondoids, which could eventually lead to their use in electronic applications for the computer industry. Individual diamondoid molecules will be imaged and probed electronically with scanning electron microscopy technology. The researchers will use a variety of self-assembled monolayers and other methods to grow oriented crystals on top of monolayers.