Scientists have found a way to grow diamonds in the lab that can be stressed and strained to give them special electricity-conducting properties.
In addition to being tough, diamonds are highly conductive when it comes to both electricity and heat. Diamond is an extreme electronic material with an ultrawide bandgap, exceptional carrier mobilities, and thermal conductivity. Applying relatively large amounts of strain to diamond may shift its electronic properties, which is of interest for a number of applications.
The team microfabricated single-crystalline diamond bridge structures with ~1 micrometer length by ~100 nanometer width and achieved sample-wide uniform elastic strains under uniaxial tensile loading along the , , and  directions at room temperature.
They also demonstrated deep elastic straining of diamond microbridge arrays. The ultralarge, highly controllable elastic strains can fundamentally change the bulk band structures of diamond, including a substantial calculated bandgap reduction as much as ~2 electron volts.
This demonstration highlights the immense application potential of deep elastic strain engineering for photonics, electronics, and quantum information technologies.
The work has been published in Nature.