Diamond’s unique physical properties and biocompatibility, combined with novel manufacturing processes, are creating new industrial uses for the material, according to Element Six Ltd. (E6; Ascot, Berks, UK). Through partnerships and subsidiaries, the company is leading development work in semiconductor products and radiation detectors that use diamond. Other applications, including healthcare, are being considered.
E6 has acquired the assets and intellectual property to fabricate a cemented diamond-silicon carbide composite at a facility in South Africa. The composite is wear resistant, and the manufacturing technology lends itself to making complex 3-D shapes. The inert nature of silicon carbide and the biocompatibility of diamond may lead to opportunities in the medical implantables market, according to the firm.
CEO Christian Hultner stresses that E6 is an “advanced materials solution company that happens to have synthetic diamond as a base. We are closer in kind to a steel or carbide company than to one whose business lies in selling precious stones,” he says.