Review Article: Synthesis, properties, and applications of fluorescent diamond particles

Olga A. Shenderova, Alexander I. Shames, Nicholas A. Nunn, Marco D. Torelli, Igor Vlasov, Alexander Zaitsev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Diamond particles containing color centers - fluorescent crystallographic defects embedded within the diamond lattice - outperform other classes of fluorophores by providing a combination of unmatched photostability, intriguing coupled magneto-optical properties, intrinsic biocompatibility, and outstanding mechanical and chemical robustness. This exceptional combination of properties positions fluorescent diamond particles as unique fluorophores with emerging applications in a variety of fields, including bioimaging, ultrasensitive metrology at the nanoscale, fluorescent tags in industrial applications, and even potentially as magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. However, production of fluorescent nanodiamond (FND) is nontrivial, since it requires irradiation with high-energy particles to displace carbon atoms and create vacancies - a primary constituent in the majority color centers. In this review, centrally focused on material developments, major steps of FND production are discussed with emphasis on current challenges in the field and possible solutions. The authors demonstrate how the combination of fluorescent spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance provides valuable insight into the types of radiation-induced defects formed and their evolution upon thermal annealing, thereby guiding FND performance optimization. A recent breakthrough process allowing for production of fluorescent diamond particles with vibrant blue, green, and red fluorescence is also discussed. Finally, the authors conclude with demonstrations of a few FND applications in the life science arena and in industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number030802
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology B
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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