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February 16, 2022

The great prospect of diamond in semiconductor field

Diamond has many advantages over silicon, such as faster speed, lower power consumption, lighter weight and thinner thickness, and has great prospects in the field of semiconductors.

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As early as 2000, Argonne National Laboratory had been experimenting with chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of diamond and established Advanced Diamond Technologies. The company collaborates with Innovative Microtechnologies to manufacture diamond MEMS and facilitates the production of CVD equipment for depositing diamond crystals by diamond wafer specialists such as SP3 Diamond Technologies. Although diamond's biggest applications so far have been in jewelry, abrasives, and synthetic diamonds, Argonne National Laboratory is still working hard to find ways to turn diamond (a natural insulator) into a semiconductor and a conductor, making it a valuable asset for all Diamond chips pave the way.

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The biggest problem in the commercialization of diamond semiconductors is that it is easy to make p-type transistors and difficult to make n-type transistors. Adam Kahn, founder and CEO of Akhan Semiconductor, provides the "Miraj Diamond Platform" as a solution, which can realize P-type and N-type transistors. type devices, making it possible to fabricate diamond complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS). The technical core of this process platform is that by doping P-type devices with phosphorus and doping N-type devices with barium and lithium, it brings tunable electronic devices with comparable P-type and N-type properties, and thus develops diamond CMOS.

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The first device to be fabricated using CMOS diamond semiconductor process is a diamond PIN diode, which is a record-thin 500 nanometers thick, with performance 1 million times higher than silicon, and 100 times thinner than silicon, because the band gap of diamond is higher than that of silicon carbide and silicon carbide. Gallium nitride is even wider; thermal analysis shows that there are no hot spots in this PIN diode, so there are no parasitic losses in silicon PIN diodes.

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Diamond has an ultra-low resistance value, reduces heat dissipation requirements, and can be deposited on silicon, glass, sapphire and metal substrates, and is expected to reignite the evolution of microprocessor computing speed. Previously, due to the inability to effectively dissipate heat, the computing speed of microprocessors has been hovering around 5GHz for 10 years. For silicon materials, 5GHz is a limit, because higher power consumption and hot spots will turn the microprocessor into a foam, and diamond has 22 times the thermal conductivity of silicon and 5 times that of copper, which will make the microprocessor faster. Reach new heights and spawn a new generation of microprocessors. Diamond technology will also continue Moore's Law.

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Not only is diamond the hardest material on the Mohs hardness scale, it also has good thermal conductivity. Compared to silicon, diamond has a better ability to hold energy. For smartphones, diamond-made processors reduce heat generation.

Smartphones aren't the only beneficiaries. For companies looking to shrink the size of the circuitry in their devices, diamond processors can help. In addition, heavy industry and aerospace industries also require diamond processing devices to withstand high-intensity radiation and X-rays.

Diamond-based technology can increase power density and create faster, lighter and simpler devices for consumers. Cheaper and thinner than silicon chips, diamond-based electronics could become the industry standard for energy-efficient electronics.

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Diamond is one of the special materials existing in nature, with the highest hardness, low friction coefficient, high elastic modulus, high thermal conductivity, high insulation, wide energy gap, high sound transmission rate and good chemical stability, as shown in the table below. Although natural diamonds have these unique properties, they have always existed only in the form of gemstones, and the variability and rarity of their properties have greatly limited their applications. CVD diamond film integrates these excellent physical and chemical properties, and its cost is lower than that of natural diamond. It can prepare various geometric shapes and has broad application prospects in electronic, optical, mechanical and other industrial fields.

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