Newest diamond applications – Nano-thermometer and Geology

Diamond Applications
[Image Courtesy: Nanotech Magazine]

Nanodiamond research advances for applications in Medical and Electronics field


University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in international collaboration with Russian Academy of Science, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Harvard University, has developed a nano-thermometer that uses inclusions in diamond nanoparticles for accurately measuring temperature at nanoscale. Diamond nanoparticles are 10,000 times smaller than human hair width and these nano particles glow when exposed to laser. Exploiting the properties of atom-like inclusions in diamond nanoparticles on quantum levels, these sensors are currently being used to measure temperature variations in biological samples and high-power electronic circuits and has potential of making high impact applications in fields of healthcare and medicine, and electronics.


Dr. Bradac said “This is particularly attractive as diamond is known to be non-toxic—thus suitable for measurements in delicate biological environments—as well as extremely resilient—hence ideal for measuring temperatures in very harsh environments up to several hundreds of degrees,”


Yet, in another research, University of Washington, US Naval Research Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in a paper published in Science Advances on May 3, announced that using extremely high pressure and high temperature they were able to dope nanodiamonds with silicon, resulting in a deep red glow. This property can help in cell and tissue imaging. Unlike other methods of doping like ion implantation, which damages crystal structure limiting performance and applications because of randomly placed introduced elements, this method dopes molecular ingredients to make synthezised nanodiamonds with included elements.


“Our approach lets us intentionally dope other elements within diamond nanocrystals by carefully selecting the molecular starting materials used during their synthesis,” said corresponding author Peter Pauzauskie, a UW associate professor of materials science and engineering and researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.



Diamonds provide answer to earth’s continent formation


Around 150 – 200 Kms ( 93 – 124 miles) beneath earth’s surface, geological formations known as Mantle Keels stabilize the earth’s continental crust. However, over time, scientists were clueless how these mantle keels help preserve the landmass above considering the tectonic activities. Diamonds, fortunately, helps in answering this, as they are formed within these mantle keels. Imperfections or inclusions in diamonds – mineral grains embedded in diamonds helps in revealing the nature and origin of these keels where the diamond comes from.


Karen SmitGIA and lead author of the study, in a report from Carnegie Science says “We’ve found a way to use traces of sulfur from ancient volcanoes that made its way into the mantle and eventually into diamonds to provide evidence for one particular process of continent building,” He adds “Our work shows that sulfide inclusions in diamonds are a powerful tool to investigate continent construction processes,”

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