ChevronTexaco Scientists Discover Novel Building Blocks for Nanotechnology
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 2, 2002 -- ChevronTexaco Corp. today announced that researchers at its Energy Research and Technology Co. in Richmond, Calif., have discovered a new class of molecular building blocks called higher diamondoids. These nanometer-sized carbon-based materials are found in petroleum and are potentially instrumental to advancing the field of nanotechnology.
Diamondoids are diamond molecules with the same internal structure as diamonds. Higher diamondoids begin with tetramantane, which has four crystal cages of the diamond lattice. ChevronTexaco researchers have produced higher diamondoids up to undecamantane (11 crystal cages), which is a diamond with a weight of less than a billionth of a billionth of a carat. Lower diamondoids have been isolated by others, however, only ChevronTexaco has been able to isolate higher diamondoids.
Nanotechnology is a rapidly evolving field focused on characterizing materials and creating structures, devices, and systems that have superior properties derived from building at the molecular scale. It is recognized as a key technology area that is being funded at a rate of greater than $2 billion by U.S. and international governments with additional significant efforts from industry.
According to Gary Masada, president of ChevronTexaco Energy Research and Technology Co., "Scientists have in the past recognized the need for the desirable properties of diamond-like building block molecules. Diamondoids are the only molecules to combine the useful properties of a diamond with the versatile chemistry of carbon-based molecules. Diamondoid molecules possess superb characteristics for nanotechnology: rigidity, durability, multiple shapes and sizes, and potential for precise self-assembly."
Many higher diamondoids have chiral shapes (left- and right-handedness) whose specificity is important for pharmaceuticals. Additionally, higher diamondoids can be polymerized to create specialty materials and can be derivatized to modify their electronic and other properties.
"These building blocks offer untapped potential for significant advances in the fast-growing area of nanotechnology," said Greg Vesey, president of ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures. "We are pleased to have found these potentially valuable materials in petroleum and want to actively encourage research and development on higher diamondoids and their applications."
Reflecting the commercial potential of this promising new technology, ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures announced that it has formed MolecularDiamond Technologies, a new business unit, which will make small quantities of proprietary higher diamondoid materials commercially available for research and development in mid-year 2003. MolecularDiamond Technologies will be located in Richmond, Calif., and will be headed by Dr. Waqar Qureshi, whose previous experience includes research and development, technology marketing, and venture capital investing.
Cautionary Statement Relevant to Forward-Looking Information for the Purpose of "Safe Harbor" Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
This news release contains forward-looking statements about the commercial potential of higher diamondoid materials and the company's intention to make them available for research and development based on management's current expectations, estimates and projections. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond our control and are difficult to predict. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are enforceability of the company's patents; actions of the company's competitors; and the ability of the company to negotiate third party licenses on acceptable terms. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Unless legally required, ChevronTexaco undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Updated: December 2002