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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Diamond Technology Research


Diamond research and development activities at Vanderbilt University, have yielded new innovative ideas in applying diamond technology for the development of solid state and vacuum microelectronics, microsensors, MEMS, and electric power devices. A complete capability is in place at Vanderbilt to conduct modeling, design, development, fabrication, characterization and testing of diamond devices. Over 40 scientific papers have been published, in excess of 50 conference presentations and several patents are pending as a result of Vanderbilt's applied diamond research and development. The multiple projects underway are funded by NASA, USAF, USN, DOD, and others.

Diamond is generally recognized as a principal candidate for next generation semiconductor materials. Major advantages for the use of CVD diamond technology for applications such as microelectronic devices, sensors, microelectromechanical systems, and high power devices are: (1) superior electronic properties at much higher temperatures and harsh environments, (2) high breakdown voltage, electron saturation velocity, carrier mobility, thermal conductivity, and electrical stability for microelectronic devices with very high power and frequency possibilities, (3) wide-band gap and NEA properties vacuum microelectronics with outstanding power, speed, and radiation hardness, (4) chemical and electrical stability, compatible with hostile environments for chemical/gas sensing, (5) rugged piezoresistive properties, (6) excellent thermal conductivity for flow sensing, (7) unprecedented stiffness and hardness for microdynamic structures and novel composites, and (8) low coefficient of friction, virtual "wearless" moving interfaces to achieve MEMS that operate at higher frequency, higher RPM and lower energy.


  • Microsensors and MEMS Programs: Diamond Chemical Gas Sensor, Diamond Pressure Sensor, Diamond Accelerometer (NASA)
  • Vacuum Microelectronics Programs: Rad hard Vacuum diode and triode (USAF)
  • Solid-State Microelectronics Program: Diamond gate dielectric (USAF), Diamond electronic properties by FEL (Navy)
  • CVD Diamond and Power Electronic Devices: High power resistors and capacitors, energy density storage system, power thyristor, power emission device