APPARATUS, METHODS, AND ARTICLES OF MANUFACTURE CORRESPONDING TO A SELF-COMPOSITE COMPRISED OF NANOCRYSTALLINE DIAMOND AND A NON-DIAMOND COMPONENT AND CORRESPONDING TO A COMPOSITE COMPRISED OF NANOCRYSTALLINE DIAMOND, METAL, AND OTHER NANOCARBONS THAT IS USEFUL FOR THERMOELECTRIC AND OTHER APPLICATIONS
One provides nanocrystalline diamond material that comprises a plurality of substantially ordered diamond crystallites that are sized no larger than about 10 nanometers. One then disposes a non-diamond component within the nanocrystalline diamond material which may comprise an electrical conductor that is formed at the grain boundaries that separate the diamond crystallites from one another. One may also instead react the aforementioned crystallites with a metallic component. The reaction process can comprise combining the crystallites with one or more metal salts in an aqueous solution and then heating that aqueous solution to remove the water. This heating can occur in a reducing atmosphere (comprising, for example, hydrogen and/or methane) to also reduce the salt to metal. Metal or metal carbide nanowires and/or quantum dots are produced as a result of the reaction with the ultrananocrystalline diamond. Such material exhibits thermoelectric and other useful properties.
 This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.