Design

DIAMFAB unveils new strategy and technology vision

10th November 2022
Beth Floyd

DIAMFAB, a startup innovator of high value-added diamond semiconductor wafer technology for next-generation electronics, announced that the company will move to a new dual business model strategy.

Under this new approach, DIAMFAB will sell its technology directly and through application-oriented strategic partnerships and alliances. This new strategy will enable DIAMFAB to reinforce and advance its position as a diamond semiconductor technology provider with a disruptive approach and unique know-how, unlocking new market opportunities and helping to meet environmental and economic challenges.

The strategy is designed to achieve a scalable go-to-market model implemented through a mix of in-house capabilities and an extended partner ecosystem based on co-development. “Over the past two years, we have made significant progress working with R&D teams to process high value-added diamond wafers. Our application-oriented approach based on a dual business model will now allow us to work with a broader set of industrial partners, to develop and sell high value-added diamond wafers and our patented diamond devices manufacturing processes, while also selling directly to end users with a fab-light model,” said Gauthier Chicot, CEO of DIAMFAB.

DIAMFAB has already started to work with partners on the design and fabrication of high-performance devices including diodes, transistors, capacitors, quantum sensors, and high-energy detectors. The company’s first market is capacitors for electrical vehicles, where the advantages of diamond semiconductors over actual capacitor technologies show potential for improving compactness and performance over the lifetime of a vehicle.

“We have already filed a patent on an all-diamond capacitor and are collaborating with a leading player in this field,” continued Chicot. Among other parameters, we have achieved our targets: a high current density of over 1,000A/cm² and a breakdown electric field larger than 7.7MV/cm. These are key parameters for the performances of future devices and are already superior to what existing materials like SiC can provide for power electronics. Moreover, we have a clear roadmap to reach 4″ wafers by 2025 as a key enabler for mass production.”

Diamond as a semiconductor

Diamond has the potential to be the ultimate semiconductor due to its superlative electrical properties (5,000 higher current density and 30 times higher voltage compared to silicon) and its ability to operate in harsh environments (high temperature and radiation). DIAMFAB’s patented approach to growing synthetic diamond material ranging from a few nanometres in thickness to tens of micrometres is unique in the industry.

DIAMFAB diamond wafers can be used for insulator, semiconductor, metallic, and superconductive conduction applications. In automotive applications, DIAMFAB wafers could allow the fabrication of 80% lighter and more compact power converters. In power grid applications, DIAMFAB wafers could also more easily handle higher voltage and reduce energy losses by a factor of 10 compared to silicon.

Applications range from electric vehicles with diamond power electronics devices to IoT with a 20-year-long battery life, to nuclear and spatial applications with hardened electronics components or detectors in healthcare, and even ultraprecise quantum sensors for autonomous vehicles.

DIAMFAB provides a unique control know-how that consists of synthesising and doping diamond epitaxial layers representing, the only one of its kind in the world. In microwave-generated plasma and under controlled temperature and pressure conditions, the company cracks methane molecules into carbon which are then rearranged on the surface of a diamond seed. At the same time, a precise and controlled amount of boron or nitrogen is added to grow diamond-doped layers and form a high value-added wafer ready for device fabrication.

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