Super-strong diamond chips will help China defeat the US in electronic warfare: where will they be placed?

Diamond-based gallium nitride processors have achieved power densities 30% higher than any existing chip.

According to SCMP, scientists from the 46th Research Institute of China Electronic Technology Group Corporation have created diamond-based chips to improve the communication capacity, radar range and electromagnetic suppression of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Diamond chips for the Chinese army

High-power microwave weapons, radars and communications devices could achieve significant performance increases thanks to a new invention by Chinese semiconductor researchers. The secret lies in diamonds; these were used as substrates for gallium nitride (GaN) processors. As a result devices

According to scientists, if diamond-based semiconductors become widespread, they could expand the PLA’s capabilities by increasing communications capacity, radar range and electronic warfare (EW), giving the military an advantage in electronic warfare.

It is worth noting that some experts have hailed diamonds as the “ultimate semiconductor” material due to their superior properties and great potential for applications in new areas such as next-generation processors and quantum computers.

How to arrange chips on diamond substrate?

High electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) are key components of modern radars and microwave weapons. Such chips are capable of generating high-frequency and powerful electromagnetic waves. But the biggest problem with GaN is its tendency to generate significant amounts of heat during operation. As a result, in practice these devices can only achieve 20-30% of their theoretical performance, which is far from their maximum efficiency potential.

Scientists discovered that the physical and chemical properties of GaN and diamond are completely different, making it difficult to bond them tightly. For example, if you glue them together, the heat removal efficiency will decrease significantly. But the developers took a new approach; they literally grew diamonds on gallium nitride. They first placed diamond particles on the surface of gallium nitride and exposed both substances to low temperatures and low pressure. They then increased the temperature and pressure to create a high-quality, centimeter-wide layer of diamond crystals. Through careful experimentation, Chinese scientists and engineers have perfected this process, suppressing the formation of impurities and enabling large-scale production of high-quality gallium nitride HEMT devices with diamond substrates.


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China invests in diamonds

A breakthrough in high-performance diamond semiconductor technology could strengthen the belief that China has some sort of advantage in electronic warfare. As mentioned before, diamond chips could revolutionize the communications industry. But competitors are not asleep: Japanese company Mitsubishi Electric plans to start commercial production of HEMT devices based on gallium nitride with diamond substrates in 2025. The USA is also developing similar technology. However, even if other countries reach similar levels of development, they will not be able to compete with China in terms of production capacity and costs.

But the Chinese government has been investing in the man-made diamond industry for almost two decades. Large-scale production bases with capacities far exceeding the current demand for this material have been established in some provinces, such as Henan. But China could triple its diamond production if necessary.

We previously wrote that the US is forcing chip manufacturers to leave China en masse. The White House is doing everything possible to weaken China’s semiconductor industry by bringing in allies like Japan.

Source: Focus


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