Pressure sensor with diamond membrane, manufactured in cooperation with the University of Ulm
Industrial sensors are often exposed to harsh environmental conditions. They must be particularly robust against high temperatures and temperature changes, corrosive media, strong electromagnetic fields or high-energy radiation. Most of the measuring systems available today are based on the semiconductor silicon. Hybrid structures on ceramics, glass or printed circuit boards are common. This results in material-related technical limitations that make “new” materials necessary. Diamond has outstanding properties as a material: Diamond layers are made of pure carbon, chemically extraordinarily inert, highly transparent, electrically highly insulating to highly conductive (adjustable by doping), highly thermally conductive, very hard, fully biocompatible, thermally largely stable, radiation hard and have a wide electrochemical potential window.
Synthetic diamond coatings can be manufactured on an industrial scale to be CMOS-compatible. The manufacturing and processing costs are comparable to those of other technologies, such as passivation or contacting. In order to implement diamond coatings as passive as well as active functional layers in sensors and to evaluate their industrial applicability, the CiS Research Institute is dedicated to pressure measurement in aggressive working environments and intelligent thermal management in current R&D projects. In addition, the institute coordinates the SMART DIAMONDS network. (www.smart-diamonds.de)