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Inaugural Lecture: Prof Richard Jackman

"Diamond as a Gemstone, what a waste!"

Prof Richard Jackman

On Friday 28 October 2011 Professor Richard B. Jackman gave his Inaugural Lecture entitled ‘Diamond as a Gemstone, what a waste!’ in the Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, University College London. The Lecture was followed by a reception in the South Cloisters. Inaugural Lectures have been an essential feature of University life for centuries, marking the appointment of an individual to a Professorship with a Public Lecture.

Diamond is familiar to all as a gemstone. What a waste of an extraordinary material! The hardest of all materials, with the highest thermal conductivity. A wide band gap semiconductor (5.5eV), with the highest electric breakdown strength, high carrier mobilities, high saturated carrier velocity and low dielectric constant. Resilient to chemical attack and radiation. An ideal material for high performance electronic devices. Another property that can be displayed by diamond is known as ‘negative electron affinity’, NEA., perfect for electron emission devices. Add to all this that it is biocompatible, allowing electronic devices to be used within the body, and it can be seen that diamond is far more useful as an Engineering material than it is as a gemstone.