Start-up secures $1M to develop diamond-based electronics

Article By : Julien Happich

Evince Technology is developing a new family of devices including a diode, an embedded field emission triode and a bidirectional switch.

British start-up Evince Technology has demonstrated proof of concept devices and is currently developing prototypes of two solid-state devices based on proprietary IP that leverages diamond's unique electronic properties. Yes, this is different from the previous work done to use the heat spreading capabilities of diamond as a substrate.

Originally venture capital-funded with the aim of becoming a device developer using synthetic diamond, Evince Technology underwent restructuring in 2013 to focus on IP development. It is now announcing $978,448 (£750,240) of new equity investment from business angels and other private investors.

This latest investment complements a $299,961 (£230,000) Innovate UK award secured late 2015, allowing the company to accelerate key aspects of its technology development programme while strengthening its patent portfolio. Diamond offers the potential to yield devices that are up to 100x faster than silicon and could therefore revolutionise electronics across a broad range of industries.

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__Figure 1:__ *Evince’s applied diamond thinking, embedding nano-scale electron emitters into diamond.*

As it states on its website, "Evince's innovation has been to realise that the superior dielectric properties of diamond can sustain the conditions needed to support field emission within the material itself. Using proprietary surface engineering techniques, the company has developed a process by which it can embed tens of thousands of nano-scale electron emitters into a diamond substrate that act as the electron source necessary to switch diamond from being an insulator to an efficient conductor."

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__Figure 2:__ *Conceptual diagrams of the diamond-based diode, EFET and BIFET integrating electron emission sources.*

With these solid-state nano-scale electron emitters (vacuum-free) fully embedded, the company is developing a new family of devices including a diode, an embedded field emission triode (EFET), and a bidirectional switch (BIFET). The company expects that such diamond-based devices will be inherently high voltage, high current and high frequency capable beyond any other semiconductor technology could offer, while remaining operational up to 400°C.

When questioned about where Evince stands in terms of IP development, CEO Gareth Taylor answered: "The team has proven the basis of its synthetic diamond-based semiconductor technology with the simplest device they can make which is a diode. Now that the development team knows the principles are right, they are working towards making diodes that are closer to real world performance, and from there will develop more sophisticated versions of the device. The beauty of Evince’s core technology is that it’s scalable: so the approach being taken for diodes is the basis on which to make triodes and other devices in future. Whereas one of the challenges with some other wide bandgap materials is that companies have focused on making for example Schottky diodes, but there is no extrapolation from a Schottky to making a FET device."

The company is open to work with partners to define products and target applications, then licence its patented synthetic diamond processing technologies to their semiconductor manufacturing partners.

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