Micromechanics

Shaping diamond at a micron scale

Thanks to the close partnership with Professor Niels Quack’s research group at EPFL, LakeDiamond has developed a unique manufacturing process inspired from the techniques in microelectronics. This process allows us to manufacture micromechanical parts with an unprecedented accuracy, that surpasses 1µm. These parts are particularly useful for a variety of applications, for example, in the high-end Swiss watch manufacturing industry. These diamond parts have the same extraordinary properties as their parent diamond: they are extremely solid and hard. They present a very low friction and their expansion with temperature is negligible. Watches integrating these diamond parts are more accurate, have higher power reserves, and a longer lifetime.

Photonics

Diamond is the ultimate material for high-power operations

Diamonds are the best conductor of heat and the most transparent material in the world. These extraordinary properties are used to make some of the most powerful lasers known to humankind. The powers and qualities attained are such that they trigger new exciting applications, such as laser power beaming (the ability to transmit energy in a wireless way) and free-space telecommunications. In addition, diamond possesses the highest breaking voltage of all materials. Diamond-based transistors are five orders of magnitude smaller than their silicon counterparts and can be used at scale for rapid charging of large batteries. With its outstanding properties, diamond will empower the next generation of autonomous vehicles such as drones and electrical planes as well as bringing high-speed Internet on a global scale.

Electronics

Diamond can advantageously replace all materials used in high-power transistors.

In this application, LakeDiamond takes full advantage of the exceptional heat conductivity and extreme breaking voltage of diamond. Thanks to these properties, the size of transistors and their efficiency can be dramatically improved; compared to silicon, the volume of diamond-based transistors can be reduced by a factor of 100’000. It is particularly relevant for rapid battery charging, which requires power in excess of 20kW. This charging scheme is mostly envisaged for electric cars, the market for which is booming. LakeDiamond is in development mode on this type of application and plans to address the diamond transistor market by the year 2020. Diamond-based electronic devices belong to the overall power electronics market and more specifically, to a subgroup of the semiconductor industry. A first prototype of a working transistor made in diamond is planned before the end of 2018. All diamond transistors developments are using the ultra-pure plates grown and transformed by LakeDiamond.

Biotech

Sensing of magnetic fields has important applications in medicine

... in particular for sensing heart and brain activity, dosing biological molecules in body fluids. In order to be effective, sensing devices like magnetometers must be able to measure very weak magnetic fields. Such devices exist; however, they are too expensive and complex to operate to be widely adopted in medical centers.

 

Nitrogen vacancies in diamond are excellent candidates to measure very weak magnetic fields in an affordable way and replace the existing solutions.

What are these nitrogen vacancies? Diamond has remarkable properties, most of them coming from the fact that carbon is the lightest element to be able to form three-dimensional crystals. Most of all, it possesses a wide bandgap and can be doped with a variety of impurities, that constitute as many color centers. The most common one is substitutional nitrogen. It is typically incorporated during chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Combined with a carbon lattice vacancy, substitutional nitrogen center forms a so-called Nitrogen vacancy (NV). It possesses remarkable properties that makes it very useful to many quantum-related applications. External magnetic field interacts with the spin of these quantum states and shifts their energy levels. This shift can be measured with a combination of electromagnetic radiations, in the microwave and optical frequency ranges.

The accuracy is comparable to the best systems currently used in hospitals. The key difference is their simplicity of use, in particular the diamond-based magnetometers can be used at room temperature.

 

LakeDiamond collaborates with EPFL professor Christophe Galland on this promising topic and was recently granted with an EPFL Innovator project funding for this activity.