A way to quantum-sized diamonds


The project focuses on preparation and fundamental studies of sub-2 nm nanodiamonds (NDs) i.e. in the size range where quantum phenomena in diamond are expected but not yet explored. We will employ two kinds of nanodiamonds of different method of production with mean size of 5 nm or higher and prepare them with sub-2 nm mean size with oxygen and hydrogen termination. Such challenging size reduction will be achieved by controlled air annealing in combination with ultracentrifugation leading to sub-2 nm oxygen-terminated NDs. The hydrogen termination will be subsequently achieved via annealing in hydrogen gas. We will study their structure and surface chemistry by spectroscopic techniques in relation to their size, surface chemistry and origin. We will use various techniques in order to deposit sub-2 nm NDs in form of isolated particles or dense layers on diverse substrates for accurate size measurement by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and advanced scanning probe microscopy characterizations such as Kelvin probe force microscopy, conductive AFM or scanning tunneling microscopy.