Due to diamond outstanding material properties it has found industrial applications as a free standing wafer or as a coating in areas ranging from thermal management to optical and tool components. The major problem preventing the more widespread application of diamond films is their cost. This has dropped considerably over the last 3 years by increasing the area of coverage of the microwave plasma systems used to deposit the films. At present commercial systems use 915 MHz (n = 32 cm) microwave generators in place of the traditional 2.45 GHz (n = 12 cm) generators. Generator sizes up to 75 kW are used with plans to increase this up to 250 kW. Energy costs have become the major limitation in terms of significant further reductions in the cost of diamond films.
In this project an energy efficient microwave torch and deposition system will be developed to produce diamond in a much more cost effective manner. The objective is to increase microwave energy efficiency from current values of 3 mg/kWh for 'white' grade diamond to 9 mg/kWh. In addition to enhancing the energy efficiency of the diamond film deposition process of key importance is the area of coverage and homogeneity of the deposited film. To address this a second objective is to deposit 0.5 mm thick films over an area 350 x 500 mm2 with a thickness variation of less than 10% .
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts