Modern technology is definitely on its way from
the world of micrometer sizes to that of nanometers, and the words "nanoworld"
and "nanoscience" have become an integral part of scientific terminology
in the past two decades. Many international meetings are now using in their titles
the word nanotechnology covering nanoelectronics, nanobiotechnologies and the
technology of nanosize materials. Among the latter, nanocarbon clusters - fullerenes,
nanotubes and onion-like carbons discovered at the end of the 20th century - are
becoming increasingly important.
The family of carbon nanostructures also
includes diamond particles and their structural assemblies such as loosely
bound particle agglomerates, particles incorporated into carbon-based or other
material matrices and pure-phase diamond films. The most interesting and technologically
important properties appear when the characteristic size of the basic diamond
constituents encompass the range of just a few nanometers, that is why they are
called ultrananocrystalline diamond to distinguish them from other diamond-based
nanostructures with characteristic sizes above ~10nm.
The major topics
of the workshop will be UltraNanoCrystalline Diamond (UNCD) particles
produced by detonation of carbon explosive materials (characteristic size ~5 nm)
developed in the former USSR in the 60-s and pure-phase UNCD films produced
by chemical vapor deposition (characteristic size of grains 2-5 nm) recently developed
in the USA by Dr. Gruen and colleagues in the Argon National Laboratory. Other
means of formation of UNCD structures will be also briefly addressed.
UNCD particles and UNCD films possess unique properties and different niche applications.
UNCD particles produced by detonation synthesis represent new building blocks
suitable for making nanocomposites and parts for molecular electronics. Besides,
they can serve as a source material, for the production of selective adsorbents,
as well as for medical and biological applications. Colloidal solutions of UNCD
particles are suitable objects for the investigation of physical and chemical
properties of dispersions with minimal size particles in solution. The use of
UNCD particles considerably improves the properties of microabrasive and polishing
materials, lubricating oils, abrasive tools, polymer composites, rubbers, and
information-recording media. In addition, UNCD particles can be used for growing
nanocrystalline diamond films on various substrates, for making arrays of quantum
dots of silicon and as a material for creation of a new generation of cold emission
cathodes for vacuum electronics. This is especially important for the creation
of effective pulse devices in power beam electronics and large-scale information
Thus, it is clearly seen that UNCD particles have many useful
applications in electronics, new materials fabrication, industrial and machine
UNCD films are superior in many ways to traditional micro-
and nanocrystalline diamond films: they are smooth, dense, pinhole free, and phase-pure,
and can be conformally coated on a wide variety of materials and high-aspect-ratio
structures. The set of unique properties include mechanical, tribological (extremely
low friction ~0.01), transport (tunable electrical conductivity, high thermal
conductivity), electrochemical (wide working potential window), and electron emission
(low, stable threshold voltage). The UNCD films has been considered for a variety
of applications including MEMS and moving mechanical assembly devices, surface
acoustic wave (SAW) devices, electrochemical sensors, coatings for field emission
arrays, photonic and RF switching, and neural prostheses.
in n-type doping demonstrate the highest carrier concentrations seen for any n-type
diamond material to date resulting in several orders of magnitude increase in
UNCD films conductivity that promise applications in heterojunction electronic
devices. Applications of UNCD films as biocompatible MEMS devices, biosensors
and biological electrodes are being also explored. A special program on UNCD films-based
artificial retina to restore sight to people blinded by the retinitis picmentosa
condition is under development. Functionalization of UNCD films to attach DNA
molecules had been also demonstrated.
Examples above demonstrate that UNCD-based
materials will significantly improve the technical parameters of future electronic
devices and composite materials and help Humankind in the solution of tasks related
with saving of natural resources and prolongation of machine service life.
The items mentioned above are related with UNCD artificially synthesised in research
laboratories and manufacturing plants. In addition, Nanodiamonds and Nanodiamond-derived
substances were found during the last decade in the Cosmos. The origin of such
clusters in the Cosmos is very interesting from the viewpoint of evolution of
the Universe and stars. Nanodiamonds and carbon onions, which exist in interstellar
dust, determine the optical properties and absorption of interstellar space. That
is why these studies are very important for Astronomy too. A lecture, addressing
UNCD in the Cosmos is suggested as part of the workshop program.
discovered several decades ago, UNCD particles became an object of a keen interest
only within the last few years within the advancements in the field of nanotechnology.
There has been active interest in the production technologies, purification methods,
physico-chemical properties, and applications. The First International Symposium
on Nanodiamonds took place in July of 2003 in St.Petersburg and collected about
100 researchers from all over the world but mainly from Russia and CIS countries,
who pioneered the study of physical and chemical properties of nanodiamond clusters
and worked out commercial technologies for their production and purification.
Thus we believe that the proposed workshop will help the NATO scientific community
learn more on this unique material.
One day of the workshop will be devoted
to fundamental questions on the relative stability and interrelations of nanocarbon
species that is important for both synthesis as well as application of nanocarbon
structures and devices under different conditions.
The main purpose of
the proposed NATO Workshop "Synthesis, Properties and Applications of
Ultrananocrystalline Diamond" is to provide a forum for the intensive
exchange of opinions between scientists from Russia and NATO countries in order
to give additional impetus for the development of this field of nanocarbon science
The Workshop will be held in St Petersburg, Russia at
the House of Scientists.
Ioffe Physical Technical Institute headed by Nobel
Price Winner Prof. Zh.Alferov is the host organization for the Workshop
The Symposium organizers will arrange for a sightseeing program to introduce the
guests to St Petersburg. The Symposium will be held in the period of bright nights,
when the city looks especially beautiful.