One provides (101) disperse ultra-nanocrystalline diamond powder material that comprises a plurality of substantially ordered crystallites that are each sized no larger than about 10 nanometers. One then reacts (102) these crystallites with a metallic component. The resultant nanowire is then able to exhibit a desired increase with respect to its ability to conduct electricity while also substantially preserving the thermal conductivity behavior of the disperse ultra-nanocrystalline diamond powder material. The reaction process can comprise combining (201) the crystallites with one or more metal salts in an aqueous solution and then heating (203) 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.
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.