Friday, December 17, 2004

Diamond chips coming?

Above silicon on the periodic table lies carbon. The sp3-hybridized tetrahedrally coordinate form of carbon is diamond. There has been talk of diamond chips for a long time. Diamond has a high melting point and is an excellent thermal conductor. Diamond, however, is not a semiconductor. Diamond-like materials can be synthetically grown. Materials made from methane and hydrogen typically contain hydrogen within.

A recent report from Reuters notes:

Damon Jackson of Lawrence Livermore starts his work with a natural one-third carat diamond. Once he has put the circuits on it, he sends it to the University of Birmingham in Alabama, where Professor Yogesh Vohra patented a process to grow diamonds by essentially cooking methane and hydrogen gases in a very hot microwave oven.

Vohra seals the Livermore jewel with a man-made diamond layer. He foresees the eventual development of an entirely man-made diamond chip with the circuitry also made of diamonds.
"What we have done with Livermore is show that we could embed the electrical circuits on a high-quality diamond," he said, adding that engineering challenges make a full diamond chip unlikely before five or 10 years. <--


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