€8.7m for French diamond power substrates

€8.7m for French diamond power substrates

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Diamfab in France has raised €8.7m for the development of synthetic diamond substrates for power designs

Thes first round of funding will enable Diamfab to set up a pilot line with standard wafer sizes to pre-industrialize its technology, accelerate its development and meet the growing demand for diamond semiconductors. This is a key capability for a sovereign European supply chain for wide bandgap power semiconductors and modules.  

The funding comes from Asterion Ventures, as well as from the French Tech Seed fund managed on behalf of the French government by Bpifrance as part of France 2030, Kreaxi with the Avenir Industrie Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional fund, Better Angle, Hello Tomorrow and Grenoble Alpes Métropole. 

Based in Grenoble, Diamfab is a spin-off from the Institut Néel, a CNRS laboratory, the result of 30 years of R&D into synthetic diamond growth after incubation in SATT Linksium Grenoble Alpes.

The technology is aimed at power components for the automotive, renewable energies and quantum industries in particular, the company has developed breakthrough technology in the field of epitaxy and doping of synthetic diamond. Protected by four patents, the expertise lies in the growth and doping of thin diamond layers, as well as in the design of diamond electronic components.

While the power electronics industry has traditionally used silicon, the advent of electric vehicles has accelerated the adoption of new semiconductor materials offering far superior performance.

Diamfab’s technology paves the way for the use of diamond, recognized as the ultimate semiconductor. The components they develop are lighter, more resistant to high temperatures and more energy-efficient, making them ideal for a wide range of applications, including power electronics in electric cars, industry and electricity distribution networks.

“In the development of a cutting-edge industry like ours, each stage is essential. The pilot project will catalyze many discussions with our partners and strengthen our relationships. To be accompanied by investors who are committed to the industry and the climate, and above all who understand its constraints and links, is fundamental. We couldn’t have hoped for better partners than those who have rallied around us with Asterion,” comments Gauthier Chicot, Chairman of Diamfab. 

“Diamfab is at the crossroads of many of today’s challenges: industrial relocation, decarbonization, strategic sovereignty… The technology we have developed makes it possible to reduce the historical carbon footprint of semiconductors considerably, and to do so by relocating a key industry for Europe, which is one of our investment priorities with Asterion. Industrial deeptech companies need calm, long-term support, and that’s what we provide,” explains Charles-Henry Choel, the Asterion Ventures partner in charge of the deal.

Diamfab has built up an ecosystem of international partners and customers who are helping to develop the technology, including Soitec, Murata, STMicroelectronics, CEA and Schneider Electric.

“On behalf of the French government, Bpifrance is actively participating in the re-industrialization of France, and is working to ensure the country’s sovereignty in strategic sectors such as semiconductors. Diamfab crystallizes these two ambitions: we are proud to be able to support them in this new pre-industrialization phase,” adds Stéphane Lefevre-Sauli, Investment Director at Bpifrance. 

“Diamfab, because of its deeptech nature and the industrial nature of the project, fits perfectly into the investment criteria of the brand new Fonds Régional Avenir Industrie, launched by the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region at the end of 2023. We are particularly pleased to support the company at the critical stage of building its pilot line, which will enable it to reach the maturity needed to convince semiconductor manufacturers to invest in this new disruptive technology”, adds Pierre-Antoine Cognard, Business Manager at Kreaxi.

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