From a May 7 article in SpaceDaily:
Oil giant ChevronTexaco has announced it can now refine from crude oil sizable quantities of diamond-like molecules that hold great potential for science and health researchers. Chemists say the diamondoids, as they are called -- each less than a billionth of billionth of a carat in size -- could find their way into everything from advanced materials and microscopic devices to pharmaceuticals and jet fuel.
Carbon lattice -- diamond and buckytubes -- forms the strongest known material. Diamondoid molecular manufacturing is expected to be orders of magnitude better than rapid-prototyping systems, lithography, or biomimetic engineering. No other general-purpose manufacturing system can produce this material.
The SpaceDaily article continues:
For years, scientists for have salivated over the possibilities inherent in higher diamondoids -- those possessing four or more cages. The molecules come in a menagerie of shapes, from rods to disks to screws, and combine the useful properties of diamonds with the versatile chemistry of hydrocarbon molecules. This makes them ideal building blocks for nanotechnology -- or machines at the nanometer scale.
However, CRN Director of Research Chris Phoenix says:
The current diamondoids are not useful for complex nanomachines. They're only a few diamond crystal cells -- not enough to make complex shapes. They occur naturally in crude oil, so they are refined not produced, and they are mainly small molecules.
But the availability of these diamondoid molecules should allow researchers to improve their models of small diamondoid structures. This will be very useful when the time comes to design diamondoid machines. Also, the existence of these molecules further strengthens the case that there are many chemical pathways to synthesize diamond, and that small diamondoids can be stable.