Element Six has demonstrated a new process to achieve a significant increase in size of high purity diamond plates with low nitrogen concentration.
The Metaboliqs project is developing a technique for diagnosing cardiovascular diseases through the use of diamond. The technique, called hyperpolarisation, utilises defects in diamond’s quantum properties to transfer spin to molecules that are used to improve MRI images in patients. Spin is a fundamental property, like electric charge, but it is responsible for magnetism. Diamond is unique in that spin-defects in diamond can be easily manipulated at room temperature and can therefore, in principle, hyperpolarise many molecules efficiently using relatively simple technology. One of the challenges is to increase the rate of hyperpolarisation as that requires as much interaction as possible between the target molecules and the diamond, meaning large diamond plates are required.
Using a chemical vapour deposition (CVD) growth process, Element Six has demonstrated a route to produce diamond plates > 8 × 8 mm2 with a low nitrogen concentration ([N] < 1015 cm-3), as shown below. This is a significant increase in size over existing, commercially available, high purity diamond plates, which are typically no larger than 4.5 × 4.5 mm2. Whilst more work is needed to make these commercially available, this is a notable milestone towards the hyperpolarisation system being developed in the EU-funded Metabolqis project.