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8/2/2006 5:40:56 PM
Chevron MolecularDiamond Technologies and Stanford University Launch Groundbreaking Nanotechnology Research Program

Chevron MolecularDiamond Technologies (MDT) and Stanford University today announced a nanotechnology research program to further the development and application of a new class of nanomaterials derived from petroleum.

The Stanford-Chevron Program for Diamondoid Nanoscience will build upon recent discoveries by researchers at MDT and leverage the world-class research capabilities of Stanford. The four-year research program will foster development of diamondoids, a diamond-like molecule that has potential applications in a variety of industries.

"Chevron's collaboration with Stanford and its research teams will significantly accelerate our knowledge of diamondoids and help to unlock their potential," said Don Paul, vice president and chief technology officer, Chevron Corporation. MDT is a unit of Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron Corporation.

"Nanoscience and nanotechnology are important new research areas that attract national attention, as reflected in the federal nanoscience initiative," says Arthur Bienenstock, Stanford's vice provost and dean of research and graduate policy. "The collaboration between Stanford and Chevron is an example of a university-industry partnership to advance this research."

Diamondoids: An Innovative, High-Tech Use for Petroleum

Diamondoids, each less than a billionth of a billionth of a carat in size, offer distinct advantages as a new class of nanomaterials, said Dr. Frederick Lam, business development director for MDT.

"Diamondoids derived from petroleum have the potential to affect multiple industries such as energy, electronics, biopharmaceuticals, even consumer goods. And because MolecularDiamond Technologies is a part of a major petroleum company we have the advantage of a more reliable, higher quality supply compared to traditional sources of nanomaterials," Lam said.

"Diamondoids are exciting materials as they have the novelty of both diamond and nanostructures," said Zhi-Xun Shen, director of Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials and professor of physics at Stanford.

"The breakthrough by researchers at MolecularDiamond Technologies in isolating diamondoids in large quantities from petroleum makes it possible for in-depth scientific exploration and large-scale applications. The materials, expertise and the funding from Chevron will greatly accelerate the progress of our research and the development of this emerging field."

Research Efforts to Facilitate Near- and Long-term Commercial Applications

Since 2003, scientists at MDT have scaled up production of diamondoids to create a sufficient quantity for advanced application research and development.

"The Stanford-Chevron program will significantly facilitate our goals to better understand diamondoids and may help over the longer term to develop commercial applications, particularly in the opto-electronic area. We are looking forward to leveraging the world-class research expertise and facilities at Stanford," said Dana Flanders, president of Chevron Technology Ventures LLC.

Stanford-Chevron Program Focus

The Stanford-Chevron research program will be led by Stanford professors Shen and Nick Melosh from the Materials Science Department and assistant professor Hari Manoharan from the Physics Department. The research program will initially focus on several efforts:

  • Understanding the fundamental electronic properties of diamondoids, which could eventually lead to their use in electronic applications for the computer industry.
  • Imaging individual diamondoid molecules and probing them electronically with scanning electron microscopy technology.
  • Creating a variety of self-assembled monolayers and other methods to grow oriented crystals on top of monolayers.

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