LONDON Synthetic diamond specialist Element Six Ltd (Ascot, England) is one of 23 companies and research organizations that has received funding under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for a project to develop materials for electronic sensors and devices that could function under harsh conditions that cannot be tolerated by conventional silicon-based devices.
Dubbed MORGaN – for Materials for Robust Gallium Nitride—the three-year project costing Euros 9.2 million aims is to combine synthetic diamond with gallium nitride to create sensors and electronic devices for extreme environments.
The idea is to take advantage of the excellent physical and electronic properties of diamond and gallium nitride based heterostructures.
The project brings together, from 11 countries, groups of specialists in materials, electronics and metallization for processing, through to device design modelling and packaging.
Element 6 says that in relation to diamond, it is the material's excellent thermal conductivity that makes it useful as a heat spreader in these new device designs.
One area of study will be the use of the III-Nitride material system together with polycrystalline diamond-based substrates to act as heat spreading layers.
"Diamond is potentially the ultimate substrate for many high temperature or extreme power applications," said Geoffrey Scarsbrook, R&D operations manager for Element Six Technologies.
Element Six is a leading supplier of all types of polycrystalline CVD diamond and its research laboratory in the U.K. was the first to demonstrate the synthesis of electronic device quality, single crystal CVD diamond.
As part of the project, Element Six will optimize the synthesis and primary processing of silicon/polycrystalline diamond composite wafers. The company will also develop and provide the consortium specially prepared polycrystalline and single crystal diamond surfaces to aid III-N epitaxial growth.
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