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Maxim Integrated - Integration Nation
Steve Taranovich

(Synthetic) Diamonds Are a Designer's Best Friend

Steve Taranovich
Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/26/2013 3:00:43 PM
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Re: diamond balance
We'll see if we can get more material published on all these related topics (substrates, heat conductivity, diamond, methods of bonding to these diffenent materials....).

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Netcrawl
Netcrawl
6/26/2013 12:39:20 AM
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Master
Re: diamond balance
@analoging yes you're right! therer have been huge research works on this material in many labs, its has these uniques properties, it has the highest known thermal conductivity, and also the highest known resistance to thermal shock, and in terms of application, this one has lot of potentials- the most exciting is in defense industry.

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analoging
analoging
6/19/2013 4:28:32 PM
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diamond balance
Most device applications do not require what diamond has to offer in terms of physical and electrical properties to the level making up for the cost. SiC will suffice for the majority of applications in the mean time. There has been a ton of research into the growth of this material at the university level over the last decade but most companies have not taken that research to the next level and commercialized it. It's like defense-related applications will lead the way when that happens.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/11/2013 11:07:10 PM
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Re: structure question
@Derek - re [6/11/2013 4:32:35 PM] - let's hope one of the other people who know way more about semiconductor fabrication can speak to this - beyond my ken.

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DEREK.KOONCE
DEREK.KOONCE
6/11/2013 4:32:35 PM
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Master
structure question
So, if they transferred the GaN semiconductor onto the diamond substrate, does this mean the GaN is a planar device? And no electrical connection through the bottom of the device?

My understanding the vertical structure uses the bottom of the substrate as the drain (in the case of a MOSFET). Also, a planar device resistance is not a low as a vertical one - for the same area.

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BBolliger
BBolliger
6/7/2013 5:56:35 PM
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Newbie
Re: great blog
Diamond is indeed being evaluated by military contractors to thermally manage their high-power RF devices. But diamond is not so expensive that it cannot economically fit into some commercial applications as well. Today for example, GaN RF power-amplifier suppliers and planar optical IC suppliers for communications infrastructure applications ship devices with diamond heat spreaders; the increase in performance and efficiency more than pays for the cost of the diamond. But it's true that it is the system cost reduction that pays for the cost of the diamond, and thus the cost analysis has to go beyond just comparing costs at the individual device level.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/6/2013 10:35:59 PM
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Re: thermal vs. electrical conductivity
OK, so the electrical nonconductivity part I understood pretty well regarding the covalent bonds. The thermal part due to the lattice vibrations is what I apparently forgot from my chemistry or physics courses.

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steve.taranovich
steve.taranovich
6/6/2013 9:46:24 PM
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Re: therbe mal vs. electrical conductivity
You're right Brad, it almost sounds too good to be true and as if you can't have both good insulating and thermal properties in the same element. But here is why:

Think of it this way---Diamonds are a form of carbon. In diamonds, each carbon atom is the same distance to it's neighboring carbon atom and these covalent bonds (Sharing electrons between two atoms) are very strong. There are no free electrons in diamond---hence no current can flow in it even under high voltages. It's hard to get those electrons free.

Diamond is a good heat conductor (Five times better than copper) because of those strong covalent bonds between the carbon atoms. In diamond, thermal conductivity is caused by high frequency lattice vibrations of the crystal which transfers energy. There are two elements that affect the efficiency of the heat transfer:

1 Strong coupling between the atom. Diamond surely has that.

2 The propagating waves in the crystal and how the waves are scattered due to crystal imperfections. In diamond there are virtually no crystal imperfections, hence not much scattering so that heat easily transfers across the diamond structure.

 

 

 

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/6/2013 6:01:49 PM
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thermal vs. electrical conductivity
Steve - here's what I don't understand. How can diamond be such a good electrical insulator (implying that the elctrons are tightly bound to the atoms - shells are complete in the lattice structure) but it's such a good thermal conductor (which I assumed meant the electrons were free to wiggle about vigorously). Thoughts?

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analoging
analoging
6/5/2013 6:48:28 PM
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great blog
Very interesting read and nice summary of this topic. TriQuint is one of the leaders in GaN-on-diamond. It is a viable tech pathway for high-power, high-frequency devices although costs are too high for most commercial applications. However, diamond over SiC or Si offers a number of performance advantages that the US military is willing to pay for under defense contracts which TQ can support as opposed to non-defense contractors in this market.

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