As healthcare technology continues to advance, people will continue to live even longer, thus the chances of developing cancer will increase. Early detection is needed to combat this potential epidemic. Currently, there is great necessity for improvement in this area. Most patients succumb to cancer because of late stage detection. Current methods of screening have several setbacks, such as hemorrhaging, false readings, and overall inaccuracy. Specifically, the diagnostic tools for cervical and pancreatic cancer are poor compared to others. We intend to use fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs) to detect cancer at the earliest cellular stages, while they can be easily eradicated. Ideal biolabeling agents should be non-cytotoxic, chemically inert, optically stable, target-specific, and deliverable to blood, cells, and tissue samples – all properties of FNDs. Our goals are to investigate fundamental properties of FNDs’ surface chemistry using silica functionalization, then probe the behaviors of the nitrogen vacancy centers (NVCs).

Ultrathin Growth of SiO2 Shells on Fluorescent High-Temperature High-Pressure Nanodiamonds

Advisor: Abraham Wolcott

Authors: Andres Arreola, Anida Len, Perla Sandoval