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Diamond Semiconductor Devices

Michigan State University (MSU)

Diamond Diode and Transistor Devices

ARPA-E Award: 
East Lansing, MI
Project Term: 
02/19/2014 to 09/30/2017
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

Power semiconductor devices are critical to America's energy infrastructure-all electronics, from laptops to electric motors, rely on them to control or convert electrical energy in order to operate properly. Unfortunately, the performance and efficiency of today's dominant power semiconductor device material, Silicon, suffer at higher power levels and higher temperature. This results in substantial loss of efficiency across our energy infrastructure. Innovative new semiconductor materials, device architectures, and fabrication processes promise to improve the performance and efficiency of existing electronic devices and to pave the way for next-generation power electronics.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

Michigan State University (MSU) will develop high-voltage diamond semiconductor devices for use in high-power electronics. Diamond is an excellent conductor of electricity when boron or phosphorus is added-or doped-into its crystal structures. It can also withstand much higher temperatures with higher performance levels than silicon, which is used in the majority of today's semiconductors. However, current techniques for growing doped diamond and depositing it on electronic devices are difficult and expensive. MSU is overcoming these challenges by using an innovative, low-cost, lattice-etching method on doped diamond surfaces, which will facilitate improved conductivity in diamond semiconductor devices.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, MSU's innovative diamond growth technique will facilitate low-cost semiconductor devices capable of conducting enough electricity for high-power electronics.


Advances in power electronics could facilitate greater adoption of electric vehicles, which in turn could help reduce U.S. oil imports.


More efficient power electronics systems promise reduced electricity consumption, resulting in fewer harmful energy-related emissions.


More efficient power electronics would use less energy, saving American families and business owners money on their power bills.

ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Isik Kizilyalli
Project Contact: 
Prof. Timothy Grotjohn
Fraunhofer USA Center for Coatings and Laser Applications
Release Date: