AES Semigas


28 March 2024

Diamfab raises €8.7m in first-round funding

Diamfab has raised €8.7m in a first round of funding 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, France, Diamfab was spun off from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) laboratory Institut Néel after 30 years of R&D into synthetic diamond growth. Initially incubated within SATT Linksium Grenoble Alpes, the Diamfab project led to the creation of the firm in March 2019, founded by semiconducting diamond researchers Gauthier Chicot and Khaled Driche (PhDs in nanoelectronics).

To address the market for semiconductors and power components for the automotive, renewable energies and quantum industries in particular, Diamfab has developed technology for the epitaxial deposition and doping of synthetic diamond. Protected by four patents, its expertise lies in the growth and doping of thin diamond layers, as well as in the design of diamond electronic components.

Compared with silicon-based components, the components that Diamfab develops are said to be lighter, more resistant to high temperatures and more energy efficient, making them suitable for a wide range of applications including power electronics in electric cars, industry and electricity distribution networks.

This first round of funding will enable Diamfab to set up a pilot line to pre-industrialize its technology, accelerate its development, and meet the growing demand for diamond semiconductors. Diamfab’s aim is to bring semiconductor diamonds to the level of development required by industry.

“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,” says chairman Gauthier Chicot. “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,” he adds.

“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,” says Charles-Henry Choel, the Asterion Ventures partner in charge of the deal. “Industrial deep-tech companies need calm, long-term support, and that’s what we provide.”

Since its creation in 2019, Diamfab has built up an ecosystem of international partners and customers that are helping to develop the technology, including Soitec, Murata, STMicroelectronics, CEA and Schneider Electric.

By reaching industrial standards (wafer size and demonstrator components), it is reckoned that deeptech will enable players in the sector to integrate diamond technology into future solutions. The result should be unmatched performance in terms of efficiency, voltage withstand, thermal management and reduced CO2 impact throughout the process, from manufacture to use.

By supporting Diamfab, the French Tech Seed fund, the Fonds Régional Avenir Industrie and Grenoble Alpes Métropole are acknowledging the importance of this technology, as well as their desire to see it develop in France and in a European ecosystem.

“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,” says Stéphane Lefevre-Sauli, investment director at Bpifrance. “Diamfab crystallizes these two ambitions,” he adds.

“Diamfab, because of its deep-tech 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,” comments Pierre-Antoine Cognard, Business Manager at Kreaxi. “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.”

See related items:

France’s DIAMFAB moves to new dual business model strategy

Tags: Diamond



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