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Functionalization Strategy for A New Carbon-Based Nanomaterial (Diamond Molecules) for Bio-Pharmaceutical Applications

F.W. Lam, R.M.K. Carlson, J.E.P. Dahl and S.G. Liu
MolecularDiamond Technologies, US

diamond molecules, carbon-based nanomaterial, functionalization, bio-pharmaceutical applications

Previously we announced the discovery of a new class of carbon-based nanomaterial “higher diamondoids” which are distinctly different from other carbon-based nanomaterials, such as fullerenes and carbon nanotubes. We exploited the exceptional thermal stability and diverse molecular shapes of higher diamondoids (C22 and higher polymantanes) to isolate them from petroleum. These higher diamondoids are new members of the hydrogen-terminated diamond series, with a three-dimensional structure and carbon-carbon framework identical to the diamond lattice. Although more stable than graphite particles of comparable size, higher diamondoids are extraordinarily difficult to synthesize. Attempts to synthesize them were abandoned in the 1980’s. Therefore, derivatization chemistry of the higher diamondoids is largely unexplored, but essential for customizing shapes and properties (e.g. mechanical, electronic and biomedical) of these important molecules. Diamondoid surfaces possess both secondary and tertiary carbons, including primary carbons in the methylated analogs. This offers a wide and selective array of derivatization strategies. Amine-substituted diamondoids, such as amantadine and memantine, show therapeutic activity and have been approved for use as anti-virals, for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. We describe higher diamondoid derivatization reactions, general chemical reactivity, and the effects of symmetry on activation of diamond crystal cages at the surface of higher diamondoids.

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