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Thread: Diamonds will revolutionize computing?

  1. #1
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Diamonds will revolutionize computing?

    I read a very interesting article about people creating synthetic diamonds.

    They are supposedly flawless and can be made in a lab for starting with a chip of a diamond (dust even), and a pretty high tech machine in just a couple of days. Since I have read this in wired's magazine last month, I have visited several jewelry stores. All jewelry stores thus far have denied knowing anything about this.

    We all know that silicon is so far the cheapest material that can be used as superconductors... but will it be diamonds next?

    Diamond, it turns out, is a geek's best friend. Not only is it the hardest substance known, it also has the highest thermal conductivity - tremendous heat can pass through it without causing damage. Today's speedy microprocessors run hot - at upwards of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, they can't go much faster without failing. Diamond microchips, on the other hand, could handle much higher temperatures, allowing them to run at speeds that would liquefy ordinary silicon. But manufacturers have been loath even to consider using the precious material, because it has never been possible to produce large diamond wafers affordably. With the arrival of Gemesis, the Florida-based company, and Apollo Diamond, in Boston, that is changing. Both startups plan to use the diamond jewelry business to finance their attempt to reshape the semiconducting world.
    But the greatest potential for CVD diamond lies in computing. If diamond is ever to be a practical material for semiconducting, it will need to be affordably grown in large wafers. (The silicon wafers Intel uses, for example, are 1 foot in diameter.) CVD growth is limited only by the size of the seed placed in the Apollo machine. Starting with a square, waferlike fragment, the Linares process will grow the diamond into a prismatic shape, with the top slightly wider than the base. For the past seven years - since Robert Linares first discovered the sweet spot - Apollo has been growing increasingly larger seeds by chopping off the top layer of growth and using that as the starting point for the next batch. At the moment, the company is producing 10-millimeter wafers but predicts it will reach an inch square by year's end and 4 inches in five years. The price per carat: about $5.
    Anywho... Just wanted to point out the article and get some of AOs opinions.

    The New Diamond Age

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001


    Yea it's a good article. I read it about 2 weeks ago and it blew my mind. One thing that me and a friend of mine discussed was that if diamond processors did come into the mainstream there will be limitless potential for them. Think about this:

    If (I stress the if) the traces on a diamond (i.e. the roads for info and such) are burned into the diamond or cut into the diamond it will only be a matter of time before someone figures out how to totally shave it back down and redraw them closer together thus making it faster. But, this is not without it's own electrical and heat problems plus tons of others I'm sure I don't know about due to me not having a Processor-O-Matic™ just hanging around the house. Kinda neat to think about though.
    Risk everything, or gain nothing.

  3. #3
    I wonder if the heat generated by the diamond processor would be too much for the other parts to handle. But it will be interesting to see if AMD or Intel gets one out first.

  4. #4
    Regal Making Handler
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    The creation of synthetic diamonds is not a new thing the technology has been around for quite some time. They have been used in the cutting and drilling industries for ages. Just think how much money it would cost you for that electric diamond wheeled tile cutter if they were real diamonds on the cutter.

    Still with there flawless optical properties, hardness and heat conducting properties i am a little suprised that they are only just looking into using them in this manner.
    What happens if a big asteroid hits the Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad. - Dave Barry

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