Diamond Set to be Semiconductors’ Best Friend
Diamond Microwave Devices (DMD) is a new subsidiary set up by Element Six (E6), a world leader in the development of Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) diamond technology. The new company aims to develop novel diamond semiconductor materials and processing technology that will help create the next generation of high power, high temperature semiconductor devices for use in microwave power amplifiers and transmitters.
Element Six has also signed a collaboration agreement with Filtronic plc to work with DMD to develop this new technology. Filtronic and E6 will use their complementary high technology strengths in materials, semiconductor device processing and circuits to expedite the development of this new microwave technology that has the potential of revolutionising microwave power electronics.
E6 has been involved with major research and industrial programmes such as the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry sponsored Carbon Power Electronics (CAPE) programme aimed at overcoming the technical challenges of developing diamond-based electronics components. For high power electronics, CVD diamond offers unique properties such as high breakdown voltage and high temperature operation. If a practical semiconductor device can be demonstrated, it could have the potential to provide superior microwave power and higher operating temperatures than existing semiconductor devices and technologies.
Dr. Richard Lang, general manager of DMD, said, “Whilst the technical challenges are high, a diamond MESFET could revolutionise the design of future microwave power modules. There is much work to be done in order to realise a practical device, and we are excited by the opportunity to explore the boundaries of this emerging technology.”