Stretching Diamonds for Better Electronic Properties
Diamond came from the Greek word 'adámas' which means unbreakable. It is a stone formed from the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure which is known as diamond cubic. When we talk about diamonds, we often think about its beauty and its connection with jewelry. However, in electronics diamonds are used as a wide-bandgap semiconductor with an energy gap of 5.47eV due to its tremendous potential as a high-frequency field-effect transistor (FET) and as a high-power switch. Furthermore, it's also used in passive devices such as Schottky diodes. As of today, scientists discovered more of the diamond's potential with regard to application in electronics. Specifically, they discovered that by stretching the diamond, an improvement in its electronic properties can be seen.
Researchers and scientists at City University of Hong Kong found out that stretching bridge-shaped nanostructures of a diamond can change their electronic properties. This could be the door to a new and more advanced world of diamond devices. The team of researchers stated that by straining diamonds, it can result to a more useful range of different electronic applications. The bandgap would change from indirect to direct and the electrons traveling through the diamond could now directly emit a photon if it is stretched beyond 9% in a different crystalline orientation.
The discovery started when the team simulated diamond’s electronic properties under different levels of strain, from 0% to 12%. It was found out that the tensile strain is inversely proportional to the bandgap. From this discovery, they found out that the diamond's electronic properties became more electrically conductive. They confirmed this learning using spectroscopy. They saw the bandgap-decreasing trend in the diamond samples with its peak at 2eV drop under 9% strain. Moreover, they managed to stretch the diamond up to 9.7% which is very close to the theoretical elastic limit of a diamond.
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