Nanodiamonds are this researcher’s best friend

Recent chemistry graduate Cholaphan Deeleepojananan, Chem’18, studies microscopic bling known as nanodiamonds — carbon-based particles that are about 5-billionths of a meter — because she says their potential future applications are unlimited.

From left: Cholaphan Deeleepojananan, Chem’18, and Vadym Mochalin, associate professor of chemistry at S&T

Chemically stable and nontoxic, nanodiamonds’ applications range from abrasives and polishing materials to oil additives and sunscreen components. They can even be used for targeted drug delivery in cancer treatment.

As an undergraduate researcher, Deeleepojananan studied a method that uses salt to break apart nanodiamond aggregates into single-digit stable particles. The method is easier and less expensive than conventional methods. But more importantly, it produces nanodiamonds with no toxic or hard‑to-remove impurities, which makes them well suited for “theranostics” — precise drug delivery that combines diagnostic and therapeutic applications in a single platform.

Her work has been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces and the journal ACS Nano. She worked with Vadym Mochalin (pictured above with Deeleepojananan), associate professor of chemistry at S&T.

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