Engineered Diamond Technologies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics


Increasingly conventional materials are not able to meet the performance levels required by new technologies. We need new materials with combinations of extraordinary properties that enable scientists and technologists to achieve the otherwise impossible. Diamond is one such super-material, which can be synthesized with ever-increasing control over the exploitable properties. The synthesis of diamond is currently an area where the UK leads the world. Examples of applications include exploitation of (i) ultra/isotopically pure diamond for quantum, photonic and electronic technologies including diamonds functionalised with ensembles of nitrogen-vacancy defects for magnetic imaging of living cells, magnetic navigation and solid-state masers; (ii) heavily boron-doped diamond for electrochemical sensing (in both hostile and biological environments) and water treatment; (iii) large diamond optical elements for next-generation lasers where diamond is an active intra-cavity element rather than just a window; (iv) polycrystalline diamond for acoustic and for thermal management applications ranging from power electronics to 5G communications.

Seizing the scientific and commercial opportunities of Diamond Science and Technology (DST) and staying ahead of stiff global competition, requires coordinated research at TRL 1-3, capture and protection of UK generated IP and researchers who can tackle multi-disciplinary challenges head-on. The proposed Prosperity Partnership would ensure that the UK's scientific and technological lead in DST is not eroded. The programme of research and collaboration is split into three work-packages (WPs). WP1 focusses on the synthesis, characterisation, and exploitation of perfect diamond in which the maximum exploitable properties are unleashed because deleterious impurities and defects which cause problematic strain are removed. Larger-area single crystal CVD diamond will be grown since diamond's immense potential is limited in many application areas by the small sizes currently available. Functionalised diamond will also be produced where the useful defects have been controllably introduced. WP2 concentrates on the development of processing, functionalisation, and integration technologies for diamond. Growing the diamond is not enough: we have to develop the tool kit that enables processing of diamond into the desired geometrical structure, integration with other materials and suitable packaging that in no way limits performance advantages. WP3 addresses the challenge of quality assurance such that end users know that the packaged material properties meet their requirements, and that the material can be reproducibly produced at a reasonable cost. Also, in WP3 we will produce proof of concept devices that show the potential and seed new product development. The project outcomes will include new materials with improved and tailored properties, new science enabled by enhanced intrinsic properties and the ability to manufacture innovative diamond devices. The significant impacts of the work will be in the new materials and processes demonstrated, increased confidence in others to exploit diamond because we have established a complete diamond supply chain (from production of the material to integration in devices, whilst still retaining the required properties) and the commercialisation of the breakthroughs by partner companies.

The new scientific understanding generated by the research will allow us to create innovative and disruptive technologies: we are focused on maximizing the impact of this research and technology development to the greatest benefit of our society. The deliverables of our research programme address many of the major challenges facing us today and we will, in collaboration with the Centre for Doctoral Training in DST, promote the impact of DST research (and STEM in general) via a number of outreach activities. We will actively embrace, at all levels, equality, diversity and inclusion.


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