Uses of Hyperthermal Atomic Beam for Low Temperature Diamond Growth

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Use of Hyperthermal Atomic Beam for Low Temperature Diamond Growth

Princeton Docket #14-2959

High quality diamond films, currently grown only at high substrate temperatures, are desirable for their mechanical hardness, thermal conduction, electrical resistivity, durability and optical transparency. A low temperature process to produce such high quality films does not exist today, so these diamond films can only be applied to substrates that can withstand high deposition temperatures.


Some of the properties of diamond can be found in other materials, but there are no known materials with the hardness and thermal conductivity of diamond. Because of these unique properties of diamond, there are no substitutes for diamond in many applications. Diamond films that are now deposited at low temperatures have much smaller grain size than those deposited at high temperatures. Consequently, their properties are inferior to the high temperature films.


Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University and SRI International have teamed to develop a process for low temperature diamond growth by using hyperthermal atomic beams to enhance diffusion of adsorbates by their collision with hyperthermal neutral atoms or molecules. The high-flux hyperthermal source, based on a helicon plasma generator, is estimated to achieve a surface diffusion constant of 1x10-8cm2/s.


·         Protective coatings for

o   Aircraft windshield

o   Missile nose cone

o   Leading edge of helicopter propeller blades

o   Tool bits

o   Scratch-resistant eyeglass lenses


·         High thermal conductivity coatings for thermal management in

o   Electronic modules

o   Solid-state lighting

o   High power lasers


·         Grows diamond films with µm-sized grains at <100°C


·         Allows application of diamond film to new substrates at low deposition temperatures


·         Produces a better quality diamond film


·         Promotes surface chemistry at low temperature


Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)


The U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a Collaborative National Center for plasma and fusion science. Its primary mission is to develop the scientific understanding and the key innovations which will lead to an attractive fusion energy source. Associated missions include conducting world-class research along the broad frontier of plasma science and providing the highest quality of scientific education.



Samuel Cohen is Director of the Program in Plasma Science and Technology at Princeton University and a Principal Research Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). He received his BS and PhD degrees in Physics from MIT (1968, 1973) where he was awarded the Goodwin Medal for Distinguished Teaching. In 1973 he joined PPPL where he has since worked, except for a one-year (1984-5) assignment to the Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham, UK and extended periods of service (1988-1994) in Munich, Germany, on the ITER Conceptual Design. Professor Cohen’s honors include: Telluride Scholar, General Motors Scholar, Sigma Xi, and RLE Fellow. A fellow of the American Physical Society, Professor Cohen is expert in the surface physics of fusion devices, impurities in plasmas, plasma processing, and clean, small fusion-reactor theory, design and experiment. Between 1991 and 2004 he served as Resident Associate Editor of Physics of Plasmas.

Erik Gilson is a Principal Research Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.  He received his BS in physics from MIT in 1993, where he worked on modeling the stability of strangelets.  He received his PhD from UC Berkeley in plasma physics in 2001, where he carried out experiments on resonant particle transport in pure electron plasmas in Penning-Malmberg traps.  Since coming to PPPL, he has worked on pure ion plasmas trapped in Paul traps to study intense beam dynamics, plasma source development for heavy ion fusion and high energy density physics applications, laboratory studies of astrophysical plasma systems, and surface modification methods.

Winston Chan is a Principal Research Scientist at SRI International. Dr. Chan received his BS degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Electrical Engineering and PhD from Harvard University in Applied Physics. He has over 30 years of professional experience at Bell Laboratories (now Alcatel-Lucent), Bellcore (now Ericsson), the University of Iowa, Sarnoff and SRI in semiconductor optoelectronic devices and optics. He has designed and fabricated many state-of-the-art devices, including photodetectors for telecommunications, sensing and gamma ray detection; diode lasers and vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers; optical modulators; and high speed transistors. His technical expertise is in semiconductor device physics, material science, microfabrication (lithography, thin film deposition, wet and dry etching) and characterization of optoelectronic devices. He is the author or co-author of 70 refereed technical papers and over 100 conference proceedings, and has sixteen U.S. patents.


Intellectual Property Status


Patent protection is pending.


Princeton is seeking to identify appropriate partners for the further development and commercialization of this technology.


Michael Tyerech
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762•

Laurie Bagley
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-5579•



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michael Tyerech
former Princeton Sr. Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Samuel Cohen
Erik Gilson
Winston Chan
small molecule
thin films