Nanodiamonds are tiny diamonds, approximately 5nm in diameter, that have various medical and industrial applications.
How Are Nanodiamonds Made?
Most nanodiamonds are formed in controlled explosions; for this reason they are often referred to as detonation nanodiamonds.
Study of Nanodiamonds in Geology
Since nanodiamonds have been found at asteroid and meteorite impact sites (it being posited that they were formed in impact explosions), some geologists have proposed that testing for nanodiamonds may help identify prehistoric impact sites.
Medical Applications of Nanodiamonds
One of the main uses of nanodiamonds in medicine has involved research into their potential for aiding drug delivery. Researchers in the United States and Japan have demonstrated that nanodiamonds may be used to encase drugs, thus stopping them from interacting with helathy cells. Upon reaching the target (for instance, cancer cells), the drug is released. This reduces side effects resulting from the use of drugs that are known to also affect healthy tissue, such as chemotherapy drugs.
This technique has also been used in improving the ability of insulin to aid in wound healing.
Industrial Applications of Nanodiamonds
As more research is done, the industrial applications of nanodiamonds appear manifold. Key uses identified include their use as a dry lubricant for metals, their use as a highly effective polish for computer hard disks, steel, ceramics, lenses and many other objects, their use in molecular sieves, and their addition to motor oil to improve its properties as a lubricant.
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