Nanodiamond particles form agglomerates in the dry powder state and this poses limitation to the accessibility of their diamond-like core thus dramatically impacting their technological advancement. In this work, we report de-agglomeration of nanodiamond (ND) by using a facile technique namely, salt-assisted ultrasonic de-agglomeration (SAUD). Utilizing ultrasound energy and ionic salts (sodium chloride and sodium acetate), SAUD is expected to break apart thermally treated nanodiamond aggregates (~50–100 nm) and produce an aqueous slurry of de-aggregated stable colloidal nanodiamond dispersions by virtue of ionic interactions and electrostatic stabilization. Moreover, the SAUD technique neither has toxic chemicals nor is it difficult to remove impurities and therefore the isolated nanodiamonds produced are exceptionally suited for engineered nanocarbon for mechanical (composites, lubricants) and biomedical (bio-labeling, biosensing, bioimaging, theranostic) applications. We characterized the microscopic structure using complementary techniques including transmission electron microscopy combined with selected-area electron diffraction, optical and vibrational spectroscopy. We immobilized SAUD produced NDs on boron-doped diamond electrodes to investigate fundamental electrochemical properties. They included surface potential (or Fermi energy level), carrier density and mapping electrochemical (re)activity using advanced scanning electrochemical microscopy in the presence of a redox-active probe, with the aim of understanding the surface redox chemistry and the interfacial process of isolated nanodiamond particles as opposed to aggregated and untreated nanoparticles. The experimental findings are discussed in terms of stable colloids, quantum confinement and predominantly surface effects, defect sites (sp2
–bonded C and unsaturated bonds), inner core (sp3
–bonded C)/outer shell (sp2
–bonded C) structure, and surface functionality. Moreover, the surface electronic states give rise to midgap states which serve as electron donors (or acceptors) depending upon the bonding (or antibonding). These are important as electroanalytical platforms for various electrocatalytic processes.
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