Novel Nanodiamond Synthesis Company seeks Strategic partners
20 September 2010
Within three years of start-up, Israeli based Ray Techniques Ltd is already turning a profit on its nanodiamond. With sales of 100 kg monthly going to a range of end applications including polishing pastes, adhesives and greases, the company is now looking for new investors to take it to the next level of development and drive markets for its nanodiamond in biological and other advanced applications.
In general, nanotechnology is perceived as one of the most exciting technology growth areas with vast potential throughout industry from toothpaste to quantum computing. Ray Techniques hopes that any investor will see a return on investment within five years. Nanodiamond is regarded as the state-of-the-art material widely used in polishing materials, polymers, lubricants and electrolytes.
The company has developed a novel proprietary technology for the production of nanodiamonds which it says in a green technology when compared to other production methods such as detonation. In essence, the process involves producing a carbon soot from pure graphite which is combined with hydrocarbons and liquid to form a target for a laser. The laser treatment results in nanodiamond synthesis that does not contain metals or other contaminants. The nanodiamond is isolated and purified by a flotation process in de-ionized water after which the material is washed and dried.
Contrast this process with the traditional technology that involves the detonation of TNT and hexogen explosives in metal reactors and the subsequent need to separate the nanodiamond from the metal blend and its purification by high temperature acid oxidation using nitric acid. The new method is non-hazardous and, according to Ray Techniques, the resultant nanodiamond is “of much higher quality and lower cost than detonation nanodiamond available today in the market.”
Looking at the nanodiamond material, the diamond particles vary in size typically between 2 and 10 nm with an aggregate size in water of between 5-50nm and display a high degree of geometrical homogenerity. Denonation material in comparison can vary between 2 and 50 nm with some individual crystal up to 90nm in size. According to Ray Techniques, its nanodiamond material is:-
• Environment-friendly and non-hazardous
• Enables to control average ND crystal size and defects
• Allows obtaining ND of much higher quality
• Allows wider scope of potential applications
• Enables higher efficiency in each application
• Cost-effective for mass production
The main product from Ray Techniques, RayND, consists of chemically stable diamond nucleus with an average size of 4-5 nm in graphene-like shells bearing chemical active functional groups (carboxyl, carbonyl, methylene, ether and others) and having multiple unpaired electrons, which defines RayND’s ability to interact with various molecules and particles and to influence processes and reactions.
The combined properties of the new nanodiamond material, says Ray Techniques, opens up applications in four key application areas, optics, thermal management, biomedicine and biochemistry and mechanical applications. For optical applications, the material offers improved surface control for infrared and visible spectra applications. The higher purity coupled with high thermal conductivity is advantageous for thermal management in components such as heat capacitors and conductors. For biomedicine and biochemistry Ray Techniques Ltd says that RayND is particularly promising because it has a large and homogeneous surface area, is of high purity (99.85%) and has good size control. Finally for mechanical applications, the material homogeneity and dispersion characteristics make it suitable for the production of polymers, lubricants, polishing composition and coating additives.
Aside from RayND, the company is selling RT-Lap a nanodiamond polishing paste for polishing/lapping/finishing of high precision surfaces for various materials ranging from steel and hard alloys, silicon and silicon carbides, aluminium oxide, zirconium dioxide and polycarbonates. It is possible to achieve atomically smooth surfaces. The nanodiamond is also available in a slurry form, RT-Sol, where applications include polishing, electrolyte polishing, drug and gene delivery, suspensions for protein purification and solutions for diagnostic kits. In particular, the company sees biomedical applications as one of its major potential growth markets and is participating in research projects in this area with a view to gaining a head start in seizing any emerging business opportunities.