As we all know, the current semiconductor material is still dominated by silicon. Although other materials are being developed, such as carbon-based materials, SiC, GaN and other materials, at least they are not mainstream yet.
However, everyone knows that silicon-based chips are now approaching the limit of Moore’s Law. TSMC and Samsung have already advanced the process to 3nm, and it will become more and more difficult to advance further. Moore’s Law has failed.
Therefore, major semiconductor manufacturers are constantly looking for new materials to replace silicon-based materials so that Moore’s Law can continue.
The diamond material is also a kind of material that everyone is studying, and even diamond has been confirmed by many scientists to be the most ideal semiconductor material at present, because it is far superior to silicon in many aspects.
One is that it is more heat-resistant, 5 times that of silicon. At present, the heat generation of silicon-based chips is already very difficult to control. After replacing it with diamonds, it will not be afraid.
The second is that it is easier to cool. According to the data, the heat transfer efficiency of diamond is 22 times that of silicon, which means that if it heats up, it is easy to conduct heat away.
The third is that it can withstand higher voltage without being hit, so that when manufacturing semiconductors, it can withstand higher voltage and have stronger performance.
Fourth, electrons (and electron holes) can travel through them much faster, in tests using diamond-based semiconductor materials to deliver currents up to a million times that of silicon.
So if semiconductors are made based on diamonds, faster, lighter, and better devices can be made, with lower power consumption, higher performance, more heat resistance, and more environmental protection than silicon. More importantly, the use of diamonds to manufacture semiconductors is similar to that of silicon, and many existing devices can be used.
It’s just that in the early days, diamonds were too expensive, and the cost of silicon was very low, and silicon-based chips were far from reaching the Moore limit, so they were not taken seriously.
With the birth of man-made diamonds, the price of diamonds plummeted, and silicon-based chips reached the critical point of Moore’s Law, and diamond materials were once again taken seriously.
Recently, Japan’s Adamant Namiki Precision Gem Co., Ltd. and Shiga University jointly announced that they have successfully mass-produced diamond wafers, which will be dedicated to the storage medium of quantum computers in the future, that is, memory chips.
According to the media, using diamonds to make memory chips, a 55mm wafer can store the equivalent of 1 billion Blu-ray discs, far exceeding the capacity of silicon-based chips.
However, if you want to use diamonds to make wafers, they must be of high purity. Diamonds are mainly composed of carbon, so the concentration of elements such as nitrogen must be controlled below 3ppb (3 parts per billion). This is a difficult point, compared with silicon. The required nine nines are more pure
In addition, whether it is natural diamonds or man-made diamonds, they are still very expensive. But if diamonds are used to make chips, there must be large-scale man-made diamonds, so diamonds can still be regarded as luxury goods, “can one last forever”? I’m afraid it won’t happen.