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Diamondoid-Containing Films for Optical Applications

S.G. Liu, J.D. Wind, J.E. Dahl, R. Gat and R.M.K. Carlson
MolecularDiamond Technologies, ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures, LLC, US

diamond molecule, diamondoid, carbon nanomaterial

Diamond has exceptional optical properties, as well as a wide-range of other outstanding material properties, such as mechanical, electronic, electrochemical, thermal, and tribological. Diamondoids are diamond molecules which possess the same rigid carbon framework as diamond, making them attractive as nanometer-scale organic building blocks. Adamantane (C10H16) is the smallest member, consisting of one diamond crystal subunit. Diamantane contains two, triamantane three, and so on (Science, 299, 96-99, 2003). These molecules, especially higher diamondoids encompass a wide variety of 3-dimensional shapes, including rods, helices, and discs, arising from different crystal structures. Structures also include resolvable chiral forms and methylated analogs. With the exception of adamantane, these molecules are generally difficult to synthesize due to multi-step synthetic routes, complex intermediates, and very low yields. By recovering them from naturally occurring sources, we have been able to isolate a wide variety of diamondoid structures ( These molecules are readily able to be derivatized with a variety of functionalization chemistries to customize their shapes and properties (e.g. mechanical, electronic and biomedical) for various applications. Based on the high index of refraction and optical transparency of diamond, one possible application of diamondoids is in optical coatings. In addition, fundamental questions under investigation are how do the optical properties of diamondoids/diamond change across various size ranges, and how can these properties be used in applications by incorporating diamond molecules of various sizes into materials using various chemical and/or physical means. In this presentation, we will describe the optical properties of diamondoids and diamondoid-polymer composite thin films. We will discuss how higher diamondoids can be used as seed crystals in CVD production of diamond films; how diamondoid molecules can be chemically incorporated into polymers, either as monomers or pendant groups, or physically (in solution) providing materials that can be spin-coated to form thin films. We will also discuss how diamondoids can be deposited as thin films of individual molecules by vacuum vapor deposition.

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