Electronic Design

Diamonds Are A Superconductor's Best Friend

Researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences and Los Alamos National Laboratory lay claim to the discovery of superconductivity at ultracold temperatures in cubic diamond. This development could lead to a new generation of diamond-based device applications, including diamond-based ICs. Superconductivity in silicon or germanium, which also forms in the diamond structure, may be possible as well.

As a result of their electron structure, diamonds conduct heat more effectively than copper and can withstand very high electric fields. This arrangement also makes it impossible for diamonds to conduct electricity. By subjecting a graphite and boron carbide mixture to pressures of nearly 100,000 atmospheres and temperatures of 4000°F to 4600°F, though, scientists transformed diamonds into superconductors that can carry electricity with no resistance at −450°F.

The Institute for High Pressure Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences synthesized the graphite and boron carbide mixture. This material was brought to Los Alamos, where the superconductivity was discovered.

For further details, go to www.lanl.gov.

TAGS: Components
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