Both passive and active electronic applications of CVD diamond have been proposed since the earliest stages of its development, largely based on an extrapolation of the superlative properties of single crystal diamond. Consequently, CVD diamond research has striven hard to match up to this expectation and significant advances have been made.
CVD diamond compares favourably with natural or high pressure synthetic single crystal material for passive electronic applications. The development of CVD diamond deposition technology for thermal management has led producers to address issues such as production cost, yield and quality. CVD polycrystalline diamond is becoming a commodity material and commercial applications in thermal management are emerging. Many of these developments are expected to feed into active electronic applications and will act as a springboard for diamond into commercial technology.
The active electronic applications for diamond are more demanding in terms of materials and process technologies. For example, doping, structure delineation and contact schemes have been widely demonstrated and prototype devices are showing potential benefits in sensors, detectors, photonics and cold cathodes. The current and future status of diamond electronics is reviewed.