$2.5M to Explore Synthetic Diamond Semiconductors at Crocker Lab

Eric Prebys

Although diamonds are mostly thought of as jewelry, synthetic diamonds are being explored for semiconductors because of their unique properties. Structurally identical to diamonds, synthetic diamonds are produced by a controlled process, as compared to natural diamonds, which are created by geologic processes. 

Eric Prebys, director of the UC Davis Crocker Nuclear Laboratory, is leading a project to develop a new tool based on synthetic diamond semiconductors that will be used to evaluate the performance of particle accelerators and X-Ray Free-Electron Lasers, known as XFELs.  

The project will receive $2.5 million over three years from the University of California Laboratory Fees Research Program competition. The annual competition is designed to promote the development of multicampus projects and collaborations that advance the missions of the national laboratories and University of California. Six proposals in total received funding in three targeted areas of research: accelerator research, quantum information science and wildfire-related research. 

The cyclotron at the Crocker Nuclear Lab will be used as a test bed for these new detectors. The detectors will also be used to study physics related to the formation and acceleration of the beam in the cyclotron, which will benefit other ongoing and future research at the lab.

Collaborating institutions for the advanced detectors project include UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

“This project leverages the unique expertise at each of the collaborating universities and labs, particularly the expertise in diamond detector development at Los Alamos” said Prebys. “I’m very excited to be working with these institutions and this group of collaborators.”

— Adapted from a news release by Lisa Howard, UC Davis Office of Research

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