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Dr. Skinner Awarded Patent


Dr. Jack L. Skinner, Assistant Professor in the General Engineering Department at Montana Tech, was recently awarded a patent entitled “Method to fabricate micro and nano diamond devices,” US Patent 8852998 B1. This work is based on fundamental fabrication and metrology methods to create and characterize diamond structures with at least one dimension on the order of 10^-6 to 10^-9 meters. Typical computer chips are based on silicon as the semiconductor. Diamond, a wide bandgap semiconductor, has electronic properties that allow smaller feature sizes at comparable power levels or high-power levels at current feature sizes. As diamond substrates become more economical to grow, methods to pattern and make electrical contacts to resultant devices will be critical to realizing impactful products.

Details of the work leading to the patent follow: A focused ion beam (FIB) tool was used to both pattern thin-film polycrystalline diamond and deposit platinum electrodes. The elemental composition before and after fabrication was determined via a combination of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and Raman spectroscopy. Electronic properties of the diamond nanowires were determined with current-voltage interrogation. For more information, please contact Dr. Skinner at 406-496-4460.