Strain turns diamond in to a semiconductor

January 05, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Strain turns diamond in to a semiconductor
A team at City University of Hong Kong have reduced the bandgap of diamond to make it emit photons using strain for new photonic and quantum devices

Researchers in Hong Kong have been able to turn diamond into an active photon emitter for photonics and quantum applications.

A joint research team led by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has demonstrated for the first time the large, uniform tensile elastic straining of microfabricated diamond arrays through a nanomechanical approach. This stretching of the diamond lattice changes the bandgap, allowing photon emission to open up the potential of strained diamond in photonics, and quantum information technologies.

The research was co-led by Dr Lu Yang, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (MNE) at CityU and researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT).

"This is the first time showing the extremely large, uniform elasticity of diamond by tensile experiments. Our findings demonstrate the possibility of developing electronic devices through 'deep elastic strain engineering' of microfabricated diamond structures," said Lu.

However nanoscale diamond can be elastically bent with large local strain, and the latest study showed how this phenomenon can be used for developing functional diamond devices.

"I believe a new era for diamond is ahead of us," he said.

Next: Microstrain diamond array

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