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Prof Richard Jackman

PhD, CEng, MIEE, CPhys, FInstP, CChem, MRSC

Chair in Electronic Devices

Room 1004, Roberts Building, UCL

Address:Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering
University College London
Torrington Place
Research Group:Electronic Materials and Devices
Personal Web Page:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 1381 / 31381 (internal)  
Fax:+44 (0)20 7388 9325

Professor Jackman gained a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Southampton, before completing a PhD in Surface Science at the same institution in 1986. Richard was made the Royal Society Eliz. Challenor Research Fellow to study ‘processes at the semiconductor-vapour interface’ at the University of Oxford, from 1986 to 1989, during which period he also held a Junior Research Fellowship at Linacre College, Oxford. Following his appointment as a Lecturer within the Electronic and Electrical Engineering department at UCL in 1989, Richard established a research group exploring the use of diamond for electronic device fabrication, a topic new to UCL and one only just emerging worldwide. Richard became a Senior Lecturer in 1993, a Reader in Electronics in 1996 and took up a Personal Chair in Electronic Devices in 2008. Professor Jackman is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and a Chartered Engineer and Physicist. Richard chaired the British Vacuum Council (BVC, 2000-3), represented the UK on the Electronic Materials division of the international Union of Vacuum Science and Technology Associations (IUVSTA, 1995-2001), and represented the UK on the Council of IUVSTA (2001-4). Professor Jackman currently serves on the committee of the IOP’s Semiconductor Physics group (2007-).

Richard has served on the Editorial Board of the international journals, Semiconductor Science and Technology and Applied Physics A, and edited special issues of the journals Thin Solid Films, Surface Science, Applied Surface Science, Physica Status Solidi A, as well as editing Proceedings of the Materials Research Society (Diamond Electronics I, 956 (2007), Diamond Electronics II, 1039 (2008)). Media work has included the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Materials World’ (2004) and ‘Diamond: The worlds most dazzling exhibition’ at the Natural History Museum, London (2006). Extensive international conference organisation includes The European Diamond Conference series (9th-19th, 1998-2008-), the Hasselt Diamond Workshop (IV-XIII, 1999-2008-) and the ‘New Diamond and Nano-Carbons’ series (NDNC, 2007,8). Richard has given more than 50 invited papers at international meetings, including the 4th International Conference on Materials for advanced Technologies (ICMAT 2007, Singapore) and the 2nd International Conference on surfaces and nanostructured materials (NanoSmat 2007, Portugal).

To date, Professor Jackman has personally graduated 16 PhD students, and has a current group of five PhD students, plus postdoctoral research fellow support. He has published a (co-edited) book, 6 book chapters, one patent, 150 journal papers and more than 250 conference papers. The Diamond Electronics Group, which Richard heads, is based within the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), on UCLs campus. Research income to date is more than £4.5M, £3.5M with Richard as PI.

Within the department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Richard has just stepped down from the role of Undergraduate Admissions Tutor, having previously been both the departments Undergraduate Tutor and the Director of the MSc programme ‘Microwave and Optoelectronics’. Teaching centres on Semiconductor Materials and Devices at undergraduate level, and Nanotechnology at Masters level. Outreach activities include regular seminars to school sixth forms on the topics of Diamond Electronics and Nanotechnology.

Professor Jackman heads UCL’s Diamond Electronics team whose laboratories are within the London Centre for Nanotechnology. Diamond is widely known as a gemstone, but few people appreciate that the use of this incredible material for purely decorative purposes is to truly waste an important Engineering material. The properties of diamond can be summarised as:

  • Extreme mechanical hardness (~90 GPa)
  • Strongest known material, highest bulk modulus (1.2 x 1012 N/m2), lowest compressibility (8.3 x 10-13 m2/ N)
  • Biologically compatible, and a tissue equivalent for radiation (6)
  • Very resistant to chemical corrosion
  • Wide band gap (5.5eV, 225nm), excellent electrical insulator (room temperature resistivity is ~1016 Ω cm)
  • Broad optical transparency from the deep UV to the far IR region
  • High intrinsic carrier mobilities (4500 cm2/Vs electrons, 3800 cm2/Vs holes)
  • Can be doped p-type (boron) and n-type (phosphorus)
  • Highest saturated carrier velocities
  • Highest electric field breakdown strength
  • Highest thermal conductivity (at room temperature 2 x 103 W / m / K)
  • Low dielectric constant
  • High electron ionisation energy
  • High atomic displacement energy
  • Highest acoustic wave velocity
  • Negative electron affinity

In short, ideal diamond is an Electronic Device Engineers dream material! However, real diamond is far from being ideal. Natural diamond is a highly variable material in terms of properties and ‘high pressure-high temperature (HPHT)’ grown diamond impure and only available in small sizes. In contrast the use of chemical vapour deposition (CVD) techniques for the metastable growth of diamond at low pressures and relatively low temperatures enables large area diamond films and free standing diamond to be produced. State-of-the-art single crystal CVD material now has properties that surpass the very best natural diamond crystals. Material grown on substrates other than diamond is polycrystalline in nature, and the grain boundaries that are present degrade the electrical properties of the films. Two approaches are currently used to limit the impact of this problem. One of to grow very thick films with large grain sizes such that devices can be fabricated with minimal interaction with grain boundaries, the other is to nucleate the growing diamond film with extremely small (5nm) diamond seed crystals to enable very thin layers of nanocrystalline diamond to be produced, such that the grain boundaries, though numerous, have very little volume do not support impurities (such as non-diamond carbon). At UCL we grow, and use, all three forms of diamond, single crystal, microcrystalline and nanocrystalline.

A further issue to be confronted is doping. Diamond is a very dense material and it is difficult to get other elements to occupy substitutional sites with distorting the diamond lattice. This distortion leads to an appreciable ‘activation energy’ being required to generate free carriers, and results in so-called ‘deep’ acceptor and donor states. For example, boron creates p-type diamond but with an activation energy of 0.37eV, where as the formation of free electrons to yield n-type character in diamond from phosphorus requires 0.6eV of energy. This means that at room temperature most dopant atoms are not active and simply lead to unwanted carrier scattering processes.

Finally there is the issue of material processing and integration. The growth temperature of CVD diamond (~8500C) is high compared to the thermal budget allowed for most conventional electronic structures, making direct integration with existing device technology difficult. Etching and metallization also offer extra challenges to the device Engineer.

The good news is that we are finding ways to overcome these challenges and diamond is finding application in a number of device fields, namely:

  • High frequency electronics
  • High power electronics
  • ‘Radiation hard’ electronics
  • High temperature electronics
  • Corrosion resistant electronics
  • Biocompatible electronics
  • Space-bound electronics
  • Optoelectronics (deep UV)
  • Radiation detectors
  • Biosensors
  • High frequency SAWS
  • NEMS and MEMS
  • Cold cathodes
  • Electrochemical sensors
  • Quantum computing

The groups current projects include

  • High power diamond-based insulated-gate bipolar junction transistors for high temperature aerospace applications.  This  programme enjoys the support of Element Six  (formally De Beers Industrial Diamond) and Rolls-Royce plc.
  • High performance nanostructured diamond field effect transistors for high power high frequency operation. The novel use of delta-doped diamond layers. Project supported by Diamond Microwave Devices (DMD) Ltd and Element Six Ltd.
  • Growth of n-type and p-type diamond using CVD methods, and characterisation.  Here we actively collaborate with CEA, in  Saclay, France, and NIMS in Tsukuba, Japan.
  • Novel diamond structures for high power diamond devices.  Recently  patented ideas are being explored with the support of Garfiold Ltd.
  • Understanding the properties of ultra-nanocrystalline and  nanocrystalline diamond films (UNCD, NCD).  Characterising these novel forms of diamond and identifying their potential within nano-device technology, in collaboration with the Naval research Labs (Washington) and Argonne National Labs, both in the USA.
  • Diamond devices for implantable electronics – an EU programme  known as ‘DREAMS’ with partners in France, Germany and the  Czech Republic.
  • Diamond-neuronal interfacing.  Growth of living material onto diamond  field effect transistors, and two-way communication.  A project in  collaboration with the department of Pharmacology at UCL.
  • ‘Silicon-on-diamond (SOD)’ – a replacement for SOI technology in  next generation CMOS?  A project in collaboration with SOITEC (France),  Sp3 technologies (USA) and CEA (France).
  • Diamond Surface Conductivity – ultra-shallow p-type layers for device  applications – a collaboration with the University of Oxford (Chemistry) 
and the Technical University of Munich (Walter Schottky Institute).
  • Diamond radiation and photodetectors.  Patented and licensed technology for the generation of alpha, neutron and extreme UV sensors. Partners – British Aerospace Systems plc, CEA (Saclay, France) and AST Ltd.
  • Diamond NEMS. Nano-electro-mechanical systems are being fabricated using FIB and RIE techniques to realize diamond-based cantilever and SAW biosensors.

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Number of publications: 258.






























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