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Diamond Molecules: Building Blocks for Nanotechnology

Gloria M. Chaw1, Dr. Frederick Lam2, and Dr. Steve Sciamanna2. (1) Chevron MolecularDiamond Technologies, Chevron Corporation, 100 Chevron Way, Richmond, CA 94802, (2) MolecularDiamond Technologies, Chevron Corporation, 100 Chevron Way, Richmond, CA 94802

Recently, Chevron's MolecularDiamond Technologies (MDT) business unit made a groundbreaking discovery by isolating from petroleum a new class of carbon-based nanomaterials called higher diamondoids. Subsequently, MDT developed processes to isolate lower diamondoids in large quantities from petroleum. Diamondoids are diamond molecules which have untapped potential to affect multiple industries such as energy, electronics, biopharmaceuticals, aerospace, plastics, and even consumer goods. MDT's discovery of higher diamondoids was first reported in Science magazine (January 3, 2003) and was named one of the Top Ten Highlights in Material Science in 2002 by C&E News. Unlike fullerenes or carbon nanotubes, diamondoids have the same internal carbon framework as diamond. Diamondoids exist in a myriad of shapes (e.g., rods, discs, screws) and sizes including unusual and resolvable chiral (right- and left-handed) forms. Higher diamondoids (having 4 or more carbon cages) and lower diamondoids (having 3 or less cages) are readily derivatized and polymerizable, thus allowing their properties to be engineered at the molecular level for desired applications. Through R&D collaborations, MDT is focused on determining the intrinsic properties of diamondoids, performance characteristics of diamondoid-containing materials, and exploratory “proof of concept” applications that will be enabled by diamondoids. Currently MDT has over 35 R&D collaborations underway with some of the world's leading universities and laboratories, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Case Western, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the US Navy. MDT has also developed over ten commercial partnerships in the bio-medical, specialty materials, polymer, and cosmetics industries.

MDT researchers have scaled up production of diamondoids in sufficient quantities so that, for possibly the first time, application research and development can be conducted on the full range of lower diamondoids and some of the higher diamondoids.

MDT has established a strong intellectual property portfolio with over 25 patents filed (7 issued), including composition of matter patents for higher diamondoids and patents for the production, derivatization and specific applications for both higher and lower diamondoids.

Web Page: www.moleculardiamond.com