Adam Khan, founder and CEO of AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. was granted a US patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office today for a groundbreaking process that adheres diamond, the only truly transparent semiconductor, to metals and alloys (including transparent metals) in a way that allows for reliable wire bonding and high conductivity. The application improves the properties of everyday electronics in a multitude of ways, most significantly, enabling the creation of a fully transparent circuit.
“The patent enables designers and manufacturers to surpass the longstanding technological roadblock to create fully transparent electronics,” Khan said. “Diamond may now be integrated with fully transparent metals such as indium tin oxide (ITO) and fluorine doped tin oxide (FTO). This means transparent concepts for future consumer electronic designs, like the next generation of wearables you see today, will become a reality.”
The patent, first filed in 2012, qualified as “first to invent” as Adam Khan was the first to demonstrate and secure IP rights to reliable metallization of diamond surfaces at his company. Previous to this invention, there was no way to successfully bond necessary contact metals to semiconducting diamond so the application of the diamond material into next generation devices was virtually impossible.
From a technical perspective, the patent allows for the metallization of n-type diamond semiconductors, a process that gives a material the ability to conduct electricity. Previously, it was only possible to create n-type semiconductors with Silicon, Germanium, Silicon Carbide, and GaAs which are widely used today. Each of these materials are non-transparent, presenting a foundational design challenge for the next-generation of electronics. This new diamond technology surpasses this design challenge and will usher in the era of diamond electronics.
Possible consumer designs include transparent computers, mobile phones, wearable tech such as that seen in Google Glass and other heads up display applications seen in a variety of industries. More specifically, industrial applications include: commercial avionics, aerospace, military/defense, satellite/telecommunications power electronics where electronic components are most commonly construed on transparent and radiation-hard substrates such as Fused Silica (glass) and Sapphire.
Each of these applications consist of not just greater design capabilities, but are more cost effective, can operate at higher temperatures, allows for thinner devices and advanced design capabilities. The diamond material has widely been recognized as the holy grail of power and consumer electronics and Khan’s patent makes the application of diamond technology a reality.
“There is no transparent electronic system available today, so AKHAN Semiconductor will be able to clear a key technological barrier moving forward,” Khan said. “Additionally, the patent is a key strategic advantage for AKHAN Semiconductor, and will help provide years of growth as we lead diamond semiconductor technology into mainstream.”