The Ultimate Semiconductor

Among many of diamond's beneficial properties are its semiconductor capabilities. The structure of diamond forms the basis of almost all semiconductors including the most prevailing material today — silicon. However, with its high hole mobility and high temperature stability of all possible semiconductor materials, diamond can be the dream CPU chip for future supercomputers (Fig. 3.7). Moreover, by possessing unmatched thermal conductivity, diamond will be the only semiconductor that can dissipate heat effectively by itself.

In each of the major industries, computer, communication, energy, there are bottlenecks that can be cleared by using diamond devices. For the computer industry this is the heat spreader.

As the computing material, diamond has another trump property — negative electron affinity. Diamond containing material can be the most efficient cold cathode capable of emitting electrons at extremely low voltage (less than 10 V). With an array of miniature electron guns, diamond can revive the vacuum tube, the antique computing unit that was replaced by silicon transistors in 1950s. Thus, the ultimate computing machines in the future will be comprised between diamond transistors and diamond emitters. In

Figure 3.7. The incremental evolution of semiconductor's performance can be achieved by optimizing circuitry design, but a quantum revolution may only be attained by utilizing a more effective material. The history of semiconductor progression is moving upward along group of tetrahe-drally bonded elements (Group IV) located at the center column of periodic table. It has progressed from Ge to Si. It will gradually advance to SiC, a half diamond semiconductor. Eventually, the advancement of semiconductor chips require the use of full diamond, the terminal material for all semiconductors.

Figure 3.7. The incremental evolution of semiconductor's performance can be achieved by optimizing circuitry design, but a quantum revolution may only be attained by utilizing a more effective material. The history of semiconductor progression is moving upward along group of tetrahe-drally bonded elements (Group IV) located at the center column of periodic table. It has progressed from Ge to Si. It will gradually advance to SiC, a half diamond semiconductor. Eventually, the advancement of semiconductor chips require the use of full diamond, the terminal material for all semiconductors.

either case, diamond will win the race as the champion above all other computing materials.

Although the computers today are electronic machines, they may also be run by other mechanisms, such as by chemical potential (e.g. DNA computers) or electromagnetic waves (e.g. optical computers). In particular, photons have been envisioned as a much more efficient carrier of information denoted as bits of 0 or 1. Not only can photons travel at light speed that is much faster than electrons moving along either a conductor in the case of a diamond semiconductor, or through vacuum in the case of a diamond emitter, their motion also consumes less energy and therefore minimal wasted heat will be generated. Current semi-conducing supercomputers can reach the speed of teraflops (trillions floating point operations per second, a float point operation is equivalent to one arithmetic operation). New hypercomputers using diamond electron emitters may boost the speed 1000 fold to petaflops (quadrillions floating point operations per second). Even

Figure 3.8. The atomic sized optical sieve of diamond when looked through its octahedral (111) surface. The hexagonal helical openings will change to square spiral holes when looked through the (100) face. Only electromagnetic radiations with wavelength shorter than twice the opening may pass through this atomic sieve. Consequently, diamond lattice can serve as the ultimate photonic computer capable to calculate at the speed of light by bouncing inside with X-rays.

Figure 3.8. The atomic sized optical sieve of diamond when looked through its octahedral (111) surface. The hexagonal helical openings will change to square spiral holes when looked through the (100) face. Only electromagnetic radiations with wavelength shorter than twice the opening may pass through this atomic sieve. Consequently, diamond lattice can serve as the ultimate photonic computer capable to calculate at the speed of light by bouncing inside with X-rays.

so, it may eventually be superceded by photonic ultracomputers (Fig. 3.8) that are capable of running at an astonishing speed 1000 times faster than the futuristic hypercomputer.

But even so, diamond still comes ahead as it is the most efficient optical conduit nature has provided. Diamond has the smallest openings of all crystal lattice; its (111) face covers myriad hexagonal helical openings of only 2.4 Â across. These atom-sized openings can filter gramma rays like an optical sieve that blocks all wavelengths longer than X-ray. Diamond may be used to construct a photonic ultracomputer with clock speed unimaginable (1018 Hz). This capability, coupled with other superior diamond properties such as fast heat dissipation will make diamond the ultimate computing material.

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