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3D diamond growth

Project description

Fractals and metamaterials support 3D diamond growth for industrial coatings

Diamond is the hardest known natural substance. It is made of carbon atoms, each surrounded by and bound to four other carbon atoms by very strong carbon-carbon covalent bonds. When used for industrial coating, diamonds are often crushed to produce powders and applied using chemical vapour deposition (CVD) yielding highly crystallised 2D-diamond thin films. These 2D processes make it challenging to produce uniform coatings on complex 3D objects. The ERC-funded smartGROWQ project will develop a pioneering and unprecedented approach that allows 3D diamond synthesis by exploiting the use of metamaterials with fractal apertures for diamond synthesis via novel nucleation pathways. This innovative deposition technique will be employed in microwave plasma CVD.


Diamond, due its outstanding properties, is a desired material to coat various objects for medical, bioelectronics, optical, aerospace, marine and other applications. However, achieving uniform coatings on complex-shaped 3D objects is still a not overcome challenge due to 2D nature of current deposition techniques. The aim of this project is to develop a new diamond growth technology, which will allow diamond synthesis in 3D and accelerate the widespread use of diamond-based materials in new research fields and industry.
The technical challenge of diamond growth in 3D will be addressed by leveraging on two ground-breaking ideas: 1) exploiting the unique properties of metamaterials and fractals to achieve uniform plasma excitation in 3D; 2) using new protonuclei-enhanced gas phase diamond nucleation pathways to overcome the nucleation barrier. The diamond growth will be achieved by microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition technique in a unique deposition system. The plasma in the system will be excited by traveling surface waves in 3D using fractal apertures on composite right/left-handed materials with infinite wavelength propagation property. As a result, plasma is expected to be distributed homogeneously in space, which is a necessary condition to achieve uniform diamond synthesis on 3D objects. The growth of diamond is expected to proceed via nonclassical protonuclei-enhanced gas phase nucleation pathway proposed to significantly increase diamond nucleation rate and allow diamond growth that is independent on a substrate temperature.
The use of metamaterials with fractal apertures for diamond synthesis via nonclassical gas phase nucleation pathway is an absolute novelty, which will address fundamental questions about diamond growth in a gas phase. Beyond that, this new technology could enable other researchers to explore new applications of diamond on temperature sensitive materials, which require good electronic, chemical, or surface tribological properties.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 500 000,00
5020 Bergen

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Norge Vestlandet Vestland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 500 000,00

Beneficiaries (1)