back to article Japanese boffins slice semiconductors from diamonds – with lasers!

Scientists at Japan's Chiba University claim they've developed a method that uses lasers to create diamond wafers that could one day power next-gen semiconductors. Silicon remains the prime material for semiconductors, but diamonds are attractive because carbon in diamond form has a rather wide bandgap. A wide bandgap allows …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Diamond wafers

    That is insane. We're going to have the technology to etch semiconductors (of sorts) onto diamond and plop that into network chips ?


    Technology can really be a marvellous thing.

    Go boffins !

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Diamond wafers

      The diamond is the semiconductor.

      Don't worry, nobody's cutting up the Crown Jewels any time soon, these diamonds are grown using chemical vapor deposition.

      I've seen diamond FETs in operation in the lab. It's going to open up some fun new tech once the boffins get a good handle on it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Diamond wafers

        Diamond FETs. This opens the way for amplifiers that go up to 11.

        1. LogicGate Silver badge

          Re: Diamond wafers

          Only if you use gold plated digital cables (USB, HDMI, LAN) that are suspended above the ground using small plexiglass pyramids that cost $ / L / € 25 each.

        2. Fred Daggy Silver badge

          Re: Diamond wafers

          Yes, when you need that extra push over the cliff.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    uses lasers to create diamond wafers that could one day power next-gen semiconductor ...

    lasers that one day could be used to compress carbon into perfect cubic crystals of diamond that could one day...

  3. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    Wot no sharks!?

    Frikkin lasers on semiconductors doesn't have the same ring to it.

    1. LogicGate Silver badge

      Re: Wot no sharks!?

      You just have to carbonize the shark and then compress it under high heat.

    2. ilithium

      Re: Wot no sharks!?

      I was just thinking this...

  4. Luiz Abdala

    Diamond chips, with golden coolers. New shiny, indeed.

    Oh boy, the RGB crowd is gonna go nuts with this. Bling-bling through and through.

    Imagine that, 30-billion-transistor-9000-carat-chips, with gold-plated coolers, the Kim Kardashian of PCs is gonna be born within 10 years!

    "Oh I spent 30000 quid on this new shiny Intel 20th generation diamond Core i11!"

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Thumb Up

      Re: Diamond chips, with golden coolers. New shiny, indeed.

      The corresponding memory sticks are already already available

  5. Vikingforties

    Are they forever?

    As an ex geologist I must take issue with Shirley Bassey and inform the readership that Diamonds Are most certainly not Forever!

    They evaporate under UV light and may only last a few billion years.

    1. ilithium

      Re: Are they forever?

      That may be true, but they ARE a girl's best friend!

      1. Kev99 Silver badge

        Re: Are they forever?

        I thought a platinum AmEx card with no credit limit was a girl's best friend.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Are they forever?

      Diamonds Are most certainly not Forever!

      Don't they also dissolve if left in liquid CO2? Or am I just dreaming about reading about it?

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Are they forever?

      "As an ex geologist I must take issue with Shirley Bassey"

      Yeah, well, I'm sticking with Shirley.

      Gifting a lady with diamonds goes much further than just any ol' rock.

  6. Death Boffin

    Diamonds are hard

    One big problem with diamond semiconductors is finding good dopants to get the good electronic performance. The dopant has to squeeze into the very strong lattice of the diamond crystal. I think the timeline for commercialization is optimistic. SiC took a full two decades to mature, diamond is even more difficult.

    1. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: Diamonds are hard

      Been solved literally decades ago, the semiconductor properties of diamond have been well known for a long time and diamond devices are far from novel in a research setting. Just various practical problems prevent widespread commercial deployment. You wouldn't want to use these for generic computer chips, the higher bandgap implies a higher operating voltage meaning higher operating voltages and heat generation, although on the flip side diamond is one hell of a thermal conductor.

      This is more power electronics as the article implies. Among the things that immediately come to mind if they may finally displace thermionic valves for high power radio and TV transmitters - semiconductors can be high power or high frequency, they still can't match valves for both at the same time.

  7. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Thermal Conductivity

    The thermal conductivity of diamond is extremely good which can make getting heat off the die much easier. Just that may be a huge initial benefit.

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