2 April, 2017
Amanda Barnard, speaker at AMN8 Queenstown, works on how nanodiamonds may be used to control where and how much of a drug is administered within the human body.
First discovered in atomic bomb testing, nanodiamonds could prove crucial to a range of technologies that change, if not save, lives. Charles Anderson talks to nanoscientist Amanda Barnard, a guest at the AMN8 conference in Queenstown.
The Soviet scientists were blowing things up.
It was 1963, at the height of the Cold War, and nuclear conflict was a distinct possibility.
For a nuclear bomb to explode it requires a quick, strong squeeze of its core. And the best way these scientists had to do that was by using other explosives. So they detonated using carbon-based creations. But when they went off something unexpected happened. What usually takes natural diamonds immense pressure, a billion years and 1,000 degrees celsius to form from carbon took only an instant. But the residue from these explosives could not be seen with the naked eye. These were only about four nanometres wide.
“A nanometre is a millionth of a millimetre,” says nanoscientist Amanda Barnard. “To give us an idea, the head of a dressmaking pin is about a millimetre across.”...