Diamonds are one of the hardest materials found on earth, however nano-diamonds which are basically 20-50 nanometers (1 nanometer being 1/1000,000,000 of a meter) are twice as hard as diamonds and can withstand 200 degrees hotter temperatures.
No wonder these diamonds would have fascinating applications in industry. In a quite unrelated field of medical imaging, scientists have discovered that these nano-diamonds can be used to detect cancer in early stages. A biotech startup, Bikanta, has developed an optical imaging system that detects early stages of cancer.
Dr. Ambika Bumb of Bikanta found that use of nano-diamonds in optical imaging technology improves the clarity of the images for the cancerous growth. According to her, nano-diamonds can be considered as tiny flashlights, which combined with targeting agents can point to the affected cells. This technology reduces the risk and pain of existing procedures and opens possibilities to detect cancers that are too early for other technologies to detect.
Although the research is in an early stage to be used on humans, it indicates the promising applications of these nano diamonds.