Updated at: 28/01/2014 at 10:50 pm
MCN will become the first facility in Australia to be able to grow both ultra-high-purity, as well as boron-doped diamond, both of which are useful in the creation of semi conducting materials. This is possible with the installation of two state-of -the-art, chemical vapour deposition (CVD) diamond systems.
A notoriously unstable and unyeilding material, diamond has previously been successfully grown through high pressure, high temperature systems. However these systems are large, expensive and difficult to run and cannot easily achieve a pure diamond outcome.
CVD systems, however, use a continuous microwave source to heat hydrogen and carbon (in the form of methane) to between 700 and 1000 degrees Celsius. This breaks down the atoms to become a highly reactive plasma. When the plasma hits an existing diamond sample surface, the hydrogen stabilises the diamond structure, while the methane adds carbon in diamond lattices to the existing material. The systems are able to fabricate either single crystal layers or polycrystalline growths.
Diamond is of interest to a number of different sectors within the scientific community as it is the hardest naturally occurring material, is an effective heat conductor, expands very little in high temperatures and is resistant to most acids and alkalis. In particular, it is useful in the fields of quantum information processing, electronics and medical bionics.
The systems will be available for use by the end of November 2013. For more information or user inquiries, please email email@example.com