A nanodiamond is, unsurprisingly, a very small diamond that is formed when carbon is exposed to extreme conditions. Originally they were found in the remains of nuclear blasts that had used carbon based ignition methods, later they were found in meteorites and other interstellar collisions. These diamonds are non toxic and also bond to many different organic chemicals due to their large surface area. This means they can absorb drugs and deliver them to where they need to be; transport proteins to damaged areas that are requiring surgery; and also test for the percentages of various chemicals in the blood stream.
Needing to find a cosmic rock or detonate a nuclear device is not a very practical way of obtaining these nanodiamonds and luckily a brand new method has just been developed. By irradiating ethanol with a rapidly pulsing femto second ultraviolet laser, it was found that homogeneous and crystalline nanodiamonds were formed. This is almost the exact opposite of detonation production as instead of breaking materials down to form the diamonds, smaller molecules are getting built up. The laser energy plays a key role in forming the size of the diamonds with the range being from 2–10 nanometres. The exact mechanisms and dynamics of the process are still unknown but it seems that most nanoparticles produced were in the smaller part of the range (2-5 nanometres) as these seem to exhibit more stability than even pure carbon. This is a process that will certainly be seen more in the future whether it be more of the theory behind it or a practical application.