Synthetic diamond that conducts electricity may replace silicon computer chips

By | January 23, 2012

Electronics without silicon is unbelievable, but it will come true with the evolution of Diamond or Carbon chip.

Now… we are using silicon for the manufacturing of Electronic Chip’s. It has many disadvantages when it is used in power electronic applications, such as bulk in size, slow operating speed etc.

Carbon, Silicon and Germanium [belong] to the same group in the periodic table. They have four valance electrons in their outer shell. Pure Silicon and Germanium are semiconductors in normal temperature. So in the earlier days they are used widely for the manufacturing of electronic components. But later it is found that Germanium has many disadvantages compared to silicon, such as large reverse current, less stability towards temperature etc so in the industry focused in developing electronic components using silicon wafers.

Now research people found that Carbon is more advantages than Silicon. By using carbon as the manufacturing material, we can achieve smaller, faster and stronger chips. They are succeeded in making smaller prototypes of Carbon chip. …

Crystalline diamond film that could produce more resilient semiconductor chips than those made from silicon. Until now, synthetic diamonds have proved a poor semiconducting material. … Adding atoms of boron or nitrogen enables the diamond film to conduct electricity. Manufacturers plan to build a diamond chip that can withstand temperatures of 500 C, compared to only about 150 C for silicon chips. The chips would be most useful in devices located near hot-burning engines, such as those used in automobiles or airplanes – link (doc)

An interesting article from Aug 08:

Silicon chips have reached the limit of their capacity to act as a semi-conductor of electricity. “Silicon Chips” according to MIT Professor of material science, Dr. Wuensch states” Will melt into a puddle” at this rate and diamond is the solution to that problem. A modern computer system in the office will generate heat at [100] degrees celsius, enough to heat a small office on a cold day.

This has prompted scientist to discover a replacement material that can handle more electricity with greater conductivity without over heating. This quest set off a world-wide race to take control of the computer and synthetic diamond industry.

The initial players in this quest are De Beers who controls the most productive and valuable diamond mines on earth located in Botswana S. Africa. And Apollo Diamond who produce synthetic laboratory created diamonds in United States ….

Apollo … continued his research after being granted a patent. His next scientific break-through was in collaboraton with French and Israel scientist. They together discovered how to produce a [CVD] snythetic lab created diamond with a positive and negative charge. The process was called “Boron-Doped N Type.” Apollo injected boron mineral with a [P-N] positive and negative charge, into the diamond crystal lattice. Resulting in the first diamond on earth with the capacity to hold a charge and conduct electricity without over heating. The race is on. – link

More:

Scientists have produced a method for making electrical components within diamond. A proton beam is used to burn channels into diamond crystal. The protons convert the targeted areas into channels of amorphous carbon or graphite, both of which materials are excellent conductors of electricity. The electricity-conducting channels (separated by electrically insulating diamond) can be made into any desired three-dimensional configuration, including whole circuit boards.

While pure diamond is not a good conductor of electricity, the creation of electrically conductive zones within diamond offers excellent conductivity in combination with the advantages of diamond’s superior properties. Owing to diamond’s superior physical properties, diamond microcircuitry is an excellent conductor of heat. It is fireproof, strong, impact-resistant, light-weight, durable, and its optical properties allow it to withstand ionizing radiation far better than today’s electronic components. Recent developments in the commercial-scale production of diamond sheeting make diamond microcircuitry a viable and economical technology.

A Quantum Leap for the Computer Industry: Whole circuit boards with localized conductive zones (conductive paths for interconnecting electronic components) will work in closely-packed, heat-generating environments. Computers will be much smaller, operate at higher speed and current, be more free of heat build-up, and be much more resistant to high voltage surges. The properties of diamond microcircuitry render today’s technology obsolete. While IBM’s new copper connections for computer chips are an excellent refinement in current technology, diamond microcircuitry is a quantum leap. – link

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