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27 September 2012

sp3 Diamond awarded patents

sp3 Diamond Technologies Inc of Santa Clara, CA, USA, a supplier of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamond film products, equipment and services to markets including electronics, lasers, LEDs, semiconductors and MEMS, has been awarded two patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office for its DiaMatch coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) matched heat spreader technology. US Patent numbers 8,105,693 and 8,147,927 cover a multilayered structure including at least one diamond layer and methods of making these multilayered structures, respectively. The technology is suited for mounting large semiconductor chips such as high-power transistors and laser diodes where CTE matching is required.

"In 2007, we received Phase II SBIR funding from the Missile Defense Agency to develop a thermal management solution that enables the next generation of high power lasers and semiconductors. We had established solid IP in this area and began providing solutions with great potential that target current and future high-power semiconductor and laser applications,” said sp3 Diamond Technologies’ president & COO Dwain Aidala. “We are currently in the process of identifying the right thermal management or specialized material partners to further develop this technology into a fully productized offering."

Semiconductor devices require packaging with high thermal conductivity to prevent overheating and to maintain useful operation of the device, says the firm. Existing materials generally deliver good thermal characteristics but poor CTE matching, or are well-matched to most semiconductor materials, but do not offer high enough thermal conductivity for today's devices. sp3's DiaMatch technology bridges this gap by offering variable CTE-matching, copper-level thermal conductivity, a choice of conductive or insulating die attach surfaces, precise edges and no compositional variability from point to point in the material.

The new patents detail a multilayered structure of thin diamond layers and high thermal conductivity metal layers and the methods of making the structure. The multilayered structure has a variable CTE, which depends on the various layer thicknesses and can be different on each side. This allows the structure to safely bond to common semiconductor materials such as silicon, silicon carbide, gallium arsenide, and gallium nitride, while providing the thermal management benefits of diamond.

“We experienced our best year ever in 2011 due in large part to two markets,” continued Aidala. “We saw our diamond heat spreaders adopted in multiple applications, most notably in wireless base stations where the thermal properties of diamond are paying huge dividends. In CMP pad conditioning we sold five times more CVD diamond deposition tools than the previous year. Diamond is being adopted,” he adds. “While our CVD diamond equipment and our heat spreaders remain our primary focus, we see tremendous opportunity for diamond applications in the future. The potential for diamond layers in the SOI-based process alone creates fantastic growth opportunities.”

Tags: sp3 Diamond Technologies CVD Diamond


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