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Rapid sol–gel synthesis of nanodiamond aerogel

  • Sandeep Manandhar (a1), Paden B. Roder (a1), Jennifer L. Hanson (a1), Matthew Lim (a1), Bennett E. Smith (a2), Austin Mann (a3) and Peter J. Pauzauskie (a4)...

The rapid sol–gel synthesis of macroscopic quantities of nanodiamond aerogel (NDAG) is reported at standard temperature and pressure using acid-catalyzed covalent crosslinking of air-oxidized detonation nanodiamond (DND) nanocrystals. Acetonitrile acts as a polar, aprotic solvent both to form a colloidal dispersion of DND particles and to conduct acid-catalyzed polycondensation reactions between resorcinol and formaldehyde (RF) small molecule precursors. Several characterization techniques show that nanodiamond grains are connected via covalent bonding with RF molecules to form a porous, three-dimensional network. Solvent exchange into liquid carbon dioxide and subsequent supercritical drying of NDAGs are used to recover low-density (151 mg/cm3), three-dimensional monolithic aerogels that exhibit surface areas in excess of 589 m2/g. The large accessible pore volume from the rapidly synthesized, macroscopic NDAG materials suggests a range of potential applications in catalysis, sensing, energy storage, as well as inert excipients for small-molecule pharmaceuticals.

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