Diamond High Voltage Schottky Diode Announced by Element Six

ASCOT, England, September 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Element Six (E6) announces reaching a significant milestone in its diamond electronics program with the fabrication of a diamond-based Schottky-barrier diode (SBD) capable of operating at 1700 V and >10 A/cm2. This is the first key milestone of the programme and has been reached ahead of schedule after only one year of development. The collaborating group who have made this breakthrough is the aptly named CArbon Power Electronics (CAPE) consortium. This project, supported by the UK Department of Trade and Industry, is being undertaken by an a UK consortium of two industrial companies (Element Six Ltd and Dynex Semiconductors Ltd) and one academic partner (Cambridge University Engineering Department - CUED). The Schottky diode was fabricated from single crystal diamond made at Element Six by chemical vapour deposition (CVD). Diamond, with its extreme physical properties, is once again demonstrating its potential as a leading wide bandgap semiconductor for use in high power electronics. The intrinsic theoretical performance of diamond, coupled with this latest device, suggest that diamond could become an important component in power conversion devices capable of operating at voltages in excess of 10,000 volts and at higher temperatures than other semiconductor materials.

The high voltage handling capabilities of solid-state devices using current semiconducting materials, such as silicon and gallium arsenide are limited by the properties of the materials. High voltage devices, as required for a range of advanced applications including traction motor control and power distribution, will need higher performance materials such as SiC and diamond; here diamond has by far the best material characteristics. E6 has now demonstrated that there is an opportunity for diamond technology to "leap-frog" over SiC solid-state devices by fabricating high performance single crystal CVD diamond Schottky diodes.

Element Six's Research Manager, Steve Coe, said, "Development of these devices has presented huge technical challenges that only a world class research team could overcome. It is only through the collective expertise of the CAPE consortium that we are able to release the huge potential of diamond as an electronic material."

Element Six's Managing Director, Christian Hultner, said, "Making this Schottky diode is a tribute to the skills of our research team and another exciting proof that the dawn of diamond electronics is rapidly becoming a reality and that our considerable investment in this area is about to pay dividends. This Schottky diode, along with other electronic component breakthroughs we are making in the semiconductor market, is stimulating awareness of diamond as a new engineering material with vast potential. Schottky diodes will be the first of many new electronic products."

About Element Six

Element Six is the world leader in the production of all forms of synthetic diamond for industrial use. Element Six has pioneered the development of CVD diamond technology since the 1980s, with a world-renowned research centre at Ascot dedicated to this activity. CVD diamond opens up many new application areas outside the traditional abrasive uses of synthetic diamond. Uses of CVD diamond include laser exit windows, cutting tools, surgical blades, windows for high-power gyrotrons, heat-spreaders for electronic devices as well as active electronic devices.

About Dynex Semiconductor

Dynex Semiconductor is a global supplier of products and services specialising in the field of power semiconductors, microwave sensors and other integrated circuit products. The Company's power products are used to improve the efficiency, reliability and quality of the electric power in a range of industries including: power transmission and distribution, marine and rail propulsion, aerospace, telecommunications, and electric vehicles. Today the headquarters of Dynex Semiconductor, together with manufacturing, silicon fabrication, sales, marketing, design and research & development, are co-located in Lincoln, UK.

About Cambridge University Engineering Department

The University of Cambridge consists of over 100 departments, faculties and schools. Cambridge University Engineering Department has a number of tools which are essential for novel semiconductor device design. These include the three main industry standard CAD software packages for physics-based modelling - Synopsis/Avant!, ISE and Silvaco. The team at Cambridge has extensive experience in using these tools for high power semiconductor device design. Extension of these tools for the design of diamond devices is something for which Cambridge has practical expertise. It also has measurement and characterisation facilities developed specifically for carbon based electronic devices, both at the fundamental and device level, over the past 15 years. The power electronics laboratory also has very advanced instrumentation for detailed assessment of transient performance and failure modes in power semiconductor devices.

CONTACT: Christopher Ogilvie Thompson, Commercial Development Manager,
Element Six, Tel. +44-1344-638-229, Email Contact

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