Posted: October 6, 2009

Advanced Diamond Technology Introduces the Smoothest Vapor-Deposited Diamond

(Nanowerk News) Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc. (ADT), announces the introduction of UNCD® Horizon™, the world's smoothest vapor-deposited diamond, to its family of award-winning diamond products. UNCD Horizon represents a generational leap in diamond wafer technology that brings the surface roughness of diamond films to levels comparable to electronic grade silicon wafers; opening up new vistas for the application of diamond into a wide variety of electronic and biomedical devices.
While ADT's UNCD Wafers are known for their outstanding smoothness—on the order of 10 nanometers (nm)—UNCD Horizon improves the smoothness by an order of magnitude to 1 nm. Such exceptionally smooth diamond enables its integration with other materials and makes diamond feasible for a variety of groundbreaking applications such as: RF (radio frequency) MEMS (micro electrical mechanical systems) devices, nano imprint lithography (NIL), diamond nanophotonic technology, biosensors, and biomedical devices. UNCD Horizon also enables the direct bonding of diamond heat spreaders to transistors, solving one of the most vexing problems in the semiconductor industry, and permits the deposition of epitaxial silicon directly on diamond.
To achieve UNCD Horizon's ultra-smoothness, ADT used an industry standard semiconductor process, chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP), and applied it to UNCD Wafers. "Using CMP opens up enormous possibilities for new applications leveraging wafer-scale processing techniques to make diamond-based devices," said Dr. John Carlisle, ADT's chief technology officer. Diamond, being the world's hardest material, is notoriously difficult to planarize. "The key was to start with our UNCD Wafers, which are already smooth, and by using CMP create an astonishing level of precision that puts diamond on everyone's technology roadmap," said Neil Kane, ADT's president.
UNCD Horizon makes surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices possible for mobile wireless applications that integrate diamond with highly optimized AlN (aluminum nitride) piezoelectric films. Such devices combine low insertion loss with high quality factors and higher frequency operation, directly integrated with CMOS drive electronics, thereby improving overall performance. Smoothness is critical for making devices that consume less energy. "The ability to produce diamond wafers with such ultra-smooth surfaces may open many new opportunities for diamond in RF electronics, in particular filters that work in the GHz frequency range," said Dan Stevens, Vectron International's chief technology officer.
Columbia University is using UNCD Horizon for NIL which allows researchers to mold nanoscale patterns with sub-10 nm resolution into substrates that are used to manufacture biological flow cells and semiconductors. UNCD Horizon is uniquely suited for the fabrication of nanoimprint molds because it allows for feature sizes on the order of a few nm with excellent mechanical properties as well as low stiction and biocompatibility. "UNCD Horizon's very low roughness meets our needs to make nanoimprint molds durable enough for the high pressures and mechanical forces applied during the nanoimprint process," said Mark Schvartzman of Columbia University's Nanotechnology Center for Mechanics in Regenerative Medicine.
Researchers at Harvard University are using UNCD Horizon to develop diamond nanophotonic technology as an enabling platform for applications in bio-chemical sensing, optical information processing, and nanoscale mechanics. "We believe that the diamond nanophotonic technology that we are developing will play an important role as an enabling platform for quantum information processing and sensing applications," said Dr. Marko Loncar, professor and principal investigator, Harvard University's Laboratory for Nanoscale Optics.
UNCD Horizon has been used to determine the feasibility of using a focused ion beam (FIB) to create a NIL hard mask. Using diamond as the hard mask eliminates stiction issues critical in imprint lithography. Using a FIB to pattern the master stamp adds flexibility and eliminates process steps in mask creation. Dr. Warren McKenzie, of the University of New South Wales, demonstrates a diamond NIL hard mask made in the image of ADT's logo (see photo above—ADT's logo patterned on UNCD Horizon, courtesy of Dr. Warren McKenzie, University of New South Wales); results were published in Microscopy and Microanalysis, July 2009.
UNCD Wafers meet foundry specifications for particle count, wafer bow, and cleanliness and they can be patterned using reactive ion etching and integrated into complex thin film heterostructures. UNCD Horizon enables diamond to be used as either an integrated film or sacrificial layer. "There has always been a tremendous interest in diamond as an engineering material and now UNCD Horizon enables diamond to be integrated in MEMS and semiconductor fabrication sequences," said Dr. Diane Hickey, ADT's director of sales and marketing.
UNCD Horizon is available on 100 mm wafers and 1 cm2 wafer die, other wafer sizes are available upon request, and can be purchased at ADT's website.
About Advanced Diamond Technologies
Formed to commercialize the ultrananocrystalline diamond technology invented at Argonne National Laboratory, ADT is the exclusive licensee to its portfolio of diamond patents. ADT is a World Economic Forum 2007 Technology Pioneer, a recipient of a 2008 EuroAsia IC Award in the Materials Enabling category from EuroAsia Semiconductor magazine, a 2008 R&D 100 Award winner for UNCD Seals (mechanical seals for pumps), and a 2009 R&D 100 Award winner for NaDiaProbes® (the world's first all-diamond AFM probes).
Source: Bayer MaterialScience (press release)
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