Diamonds helping scientists solve technological problems

Diamond applications
[Image courtesy - DD Technologies]

With each passing day, different methods are being discovered for utilizing diamonds in different technological applications. Using them with various elements is helping scientists find easier way to solve technological problems. This would result in enhanced performance and applications of diamonds.

Ultra-thin diamond membrane – for safer radiation

There has been a lot of research done previously to quantify protons, but no one could develop any technology that could help biological investigations. However, recently researchers from Université de Bordeaux, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and CEA-LIST have collaborated to develop an ultra-thin diamond membrane. The membrane has an almost perfect accuracy to measure number of protons in a dose of radiation.

The ultra-thin diamond membrane used as a detector when attached to a charged-particle microbeam delivers radiation to an area less than 2 micrometres wide. Philippe Barberet, a biophysicist at Université de Bordeaux working in collaboration with Michal Pomorski at CEA-LIST used a commercially available single-crystal diamond to slice it and plasma etch to about 1 micrometre thick. Electrically conductive electrodes were coated on both sides of the detector membrane to collect electrical signals from the proton beam as it passed through the diamond.

Bonding Single-crystal diamond and silicon carbide (SiC) at room temperature

In an another advancement recently reported, Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. have developed one-of-its-kind technology to bond single-crystal diamond and SiC substrate at room temperature. The current available technologies, which uses argon beam to remove the impurities during production process of bonding a single-crystal diamond to a device as a cooling material, creates a low-density damaged layer on the surface weakening the bonds that the diamond can form.

To prevent the formation of the damaged layer, Fujitsu uses an extremely thin metallic film to protect the surface of the diamond. This would allow the bonding of single-crystal diamond to a SiC substrate at room temperature. This technology would also be useful for gallium nitride (GaN) high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) to operate at high power. GaN HEMTs are used for boosting radar and wireless communications, thus by using this technology the observable range of radar systems is also said to increase by nearly 1.5 times.

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