Nanoparticles have built tremendous interest in recent years. In this regard carbon nanomaterials are extremely interesting because of their unique combination of mechanical, structural, electrical and thermal properties. With down-hole conditions shifting more towards challenging harsher, deeper and hotter conditions we have explored nanoparticles—nanodiamond in this case—for more demanding applications.

As a result of their inherent extremely high surface energy these very small particles tend to attract each other or exist as clusters. Thus a particle which is "nano" can exist as a submicron-or micron-sized cluster, thus overall exhibiting micron features instead of "nano" characteristics.

To derive the true benefits of a nanoparticle it is crucial to exfoliate and derivatize the surface such that the system is not only true "nano" but also so that the surface is activated to optimize the desired structure property relationship. Derivatization or — functionalization" further stabilizes the nanoparticles in different chemical matrices as well as activates them to directly bond/interact with their chemical environment. Thus functionalization is critical to the successful incorporation of nanoparticles into materials for various down-hole applications.

In this context nanodiamonds have been functionalized for polycrystalline diamond applications such as polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) cutters for drill bits.

Nanodiamond particles have been derivatized or functionalized to give them unique surface characteristics that allow them to integrate homogeneously into PDC synthesis. We have studied the functionalization of nanodiamond, integration into the PDC matrix and subsequent property enhancement in comparison to the base PDC matrix. The performance of PDC cutters produced will be shown and the behaviors and proposed mechanisms will be discussed.

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