Slicing Diamond Into Usable Semiconductor Wafers With Frickin’ Laser Beams

Source: The Register Slicing Diamond Into Usable Semiconductor Wafers With Frickin’ Laser Beams

You Have To Crack It Just Right

Diamond based semiconductors certainly sound interesting but are incredibly difficult to make thanks to the hardness of diamond.  That hardness poses a challenge for anyone who wants to make use of diamond, it tends to split along specific lines when worked and those lines are more likely to destroy the wafer than to break where needed.  To get around this companies have made artificial diamonds to work with, but as you’d expect the cost is quite prohibitive!   A team at the Chiba University School of Engineering have come up with an interesting solution, which is to use lasers to convince natural diamonds to split where they want it to and not where the diamond would split if left to it’s own devices.

Apart from sounding cool, there is a benefit to be gained from switching from silicon to diamond.  Carbon offers a far greater bandgap than does silicon, which means it runs far more efficiently at higher voltages, frequencies, and temperatures than magic sand.  That efficiency translates into less waste heat and lower electrical consumption, both of which are becoming an issue with current chip materials.  That benefit extends beyond the computer you are reading this on, it could make basic electronics far more efficient and would have quite a few applications in the automotive industry.

The Register offers numerous links to the research behind diamond semiconductors if you are interested.

Hirofumi Hidai, a professor at the Chiba University School of Engineering, and associates have been exploring ways to get around this using lasers to influence the way a diamond cracks along a chosen plane.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.

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