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Nanotech Brings Cheap Flat TVs From Diamond Dust 193

neutron_p writes "Nanotech scientists are going to develop new TV display technology made from diamond dust. It opens up the possibility of cheaper and more power efficient flat panel displays, for use in wide screen digital TVs and many other applications. Toshiba recently announced plans to launch a television based on a new flat-panel display technology called SED (Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display) in 2005. Sony and others have been working for several years on another technology called FED (Field Emission Display) but that too has yet to reach commercialization."
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Nanotech Brings Cheap Flat TVs From Diamond Dust

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  • cheap? (Score:4, Funny)

    by confusion ( 14388 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @04:51PM (#11109624) Homepage
    Combining nanotech (expensive) with diamonds (expensive) yields cheap monitors?

    It's been a long day, so I know I must be missing something

    Jerry []

    • Re:cheap? (Score:5, Informative)

      by chochos ( 700687 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:00PM (#11109715) Homepage Journal
      Probably synthetic diamonds, you know, the ones made in high-pressure ovens that cost about $50 and are the bigger than a fist, and are great for this kind of stuff. There was an article on Wired a while back, which I think was also mentioned in /. about this technology. But since nanotech is being mentioned this time, then probably now the diamond dust is being created by nanobots?
    • Diamonds aren't rare (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Schezar ( 249629 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:09PM (#11109788) Homepage Journal
      Diamonds aren't rare. In fact, there are more jewel-grade diamonds of large size and high quality than there are people.

      The diamond industry works entirely off of the perception in most people that diamonds are rare. They strictly limit the supply, and spend more money advertising than they do mining.

      If you don't believe me, take a piece of diamond jewelry to several jewelers and have it appraised. They'll all quote a fairly large sum. Now try to sell it to them. They'll offer you maybe 5-10% of what they quoted.

      If you shop around, you'll find that you can't actually sell a diamond for anywhere near what it's "worth."

      That said, synthetic diamonds scare the living hell out of the diamond industry, since they're cheap to manufacture and indistinguishable physically from a "real" diamond (which itself isn't rare, but I digress).

      These displays will drive more research and capital into the diamond manufacturing market, which will drive diamond prices down.
      • by infinite9 ( 319274 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:22PM (#11109910)
        The diamond industry works entirely off of the perception in most people that diamonds are rare.

        I heard a story about how Russia had been stockpiling large quantities of high grade (natural) diamonds from their own mines. They went to DeBeers and invited them to buy their stock to prevent Russia from dumping them on the diamond market. DeBeers happily bought their entire stock at a excellent (for russia) price. How's that for limiting supply? :-)
        • According to this article [], Russia did flood the market with low quality diamonds. DeBeers reacted by concentrating on high quality diamonds which went up in value rather than down as the low quality ones did.
          • I find this funny...and kind of sad.

            I've had 3-4 places talk up the "high quality" Russian diamonds. I'm sure I'm getting royally ripped off, but I have little choice.

            Does anyone think she might go for an "engagement plasma TV" now?
            • Over the course of your courtship, please remember that somewhere between "what's your religion" and "are you open to or expecting S&M play?" that you should ask the "what's your opinion on diamonds" question.

              She may want a diamond, but only as a signal and she doesn't care what the cost is. She may want something other than a diamond. She may also want a diamond, but willing to take something else along with it.

              My suggestion, assuming that your "two month's salary" is the US per-capita range of $50
      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:41PM (#11110085) Homepage Journal
        There is a book on this subject called "the rise and fall of diamonds" and it tells the story of who is behind the social constrction of the diamond mythology, why they were interested which was not purely monetary, when they got started, what they did, and how they pulled it off. When I found it listed on Amazon, it was listed as "RISE FALL DIAMONDS". I got it for about $12 and so far it's been fascinating.
      • by pz ( 113803 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @06:20PM (#11110447) Journal
        I've been saying for about 10 years that the jewlery diamond industry is doomed. Here's the reasoning.

        1. Silicon ingots used by chip foundries are the purest substance available to man in production quantities, at 7 nines (99.99999% pure).

        2. The semiconductor industry doesn't think twice about investing billions -- BILLIONS -- of dollars in manufacturing and R&D.

        3. Diamond is a very interesting base out of which to build semiconductors: it has (from memory) a large band-gap, excellent thermal characteristics, and some blindingly fast transistors have been made in the lab out of it.

        Once the semiconductor folks decide that they want to do large-scale diamond manufacturing, there's a huge impetus to generate higher quality diamond than has ever been mined, in quantities that will make the collection of mined dimonds seem a drop in the bucket. The only hope DeBeers has at that point is to market based on the imperfections of natural stones, since perfection, their current stock-in-trade, will no longer be a selling point.
        • by aluminum boy ( 589676 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @06:26PM (#11110525)
          Actually, it is the flaws (to a degree) that make a diamond valuable. For instance, colored diamonds (e.g. pink) contain a flaw that give them color. A trained jewler can quickly tell the diffrence between "perfect" industrial diamonds and "flawed" ones. Really, the most valuable natural diamonds are the most perfect imperfect ones.
        • While you're mostly right, there are a couple significant things different between silicon (especially pure silicon) and diamond. Silicon is an element, diamond is a form of an element. Soot can be pure carbon, too, but it doesn't share all the properties of diamond. That said, there was a Wired article posted on /. in the last year or two about a company that was making diamonds using vapour deposition. I doubt that will be more expensive than anything that has to be done with silicon (expecially once
          • While you're mostly right, there are a couple significant things different between silicon (especially pure silicon) and diamond. Silicon is an element, diamond is a form of an element.

            Well, if you're going to be pedantic, you're mostly right. When you say "silicon" and "silicon ingot" in the context of the semiconductor industry, you mean "single crystal silicon" which is a form of silicon (and, in fact, you mean a certain crystallographic form of silicon, the exact name of which I forget, but may be fa
            • Well, first things first. I never said the semiconductor industry would find it too expensive, or even impractical. In fact, once enough research has been done to take care of the hard parts of using a new semiconductor substrate, I think it's inevitable. Diamond is a better material in many ways than silicon.

              Now, back to the differences. Here [] is a description of how silicon is made. It is essentially a 90-year old process for growing single crystals of metal, using a crystal the metal naturally grows
      • Can someone please tell me where they have these diamon manufacturing plants? Honestly I want to buy a synthetic diamond and have a ring made for my girlfriend. I will not purchase a diamond ring from a store that may have been mined in some slave pit and I want this rock to be big. Where can I buy them?
        • by gtkuhn ( 823989 )
          According to the Wired article posted above, Gemesis is located in Florida and producing 3-carat diamonds.

          The other company, Apollo something, has found success in manufacture but doesn't seem to be in mass production yet.

          Interesting was that De Beers has given away free ultra high-tech detecting machines, invented by them, to labs around the world to detect the trace metal solvents that get stuck in the lattice of the Gemesis stones. Apparently the CVD process used by Apollo looks to be completely undet
      • The two most promising methods for making diamonds that I've heard of were listed in a Wired article posted on /. previously. One used a solution put under pressure to make (at the time) yellow diamonds, the other used carbon vapour deposition to make pure carbon diamonds (which are white). Both are distinguishable from natural diamonds, using spectrometry or some such. The yellow ones had certain metals in them that natural yellow diamonds didn't have. The white, vapour deposition, ones were distinguis
    • RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by marcus ( 1916 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:22PM (#11109902) Journal
      If you had RTFA, you'd know that no one here knows more than you do know. ;-) The linked piece was nothing but fluff, no substance at all. Here's a summary:

      "Nanotech is great. Diamonds are great. Venture capitalists are great. Flat screens are great. We are going to be rich!

      1) Nanotech
      2) Diamond dust
      3) Flat screens
      4) Profit!"

      What's missing is something worth reading.
      • That's very insightful.

        The only wildcard is if these blokes in Britain have figured out how to make a gozillion* itty-bitty diamonds all grow exactly the same. My guess is they haven't, but they'll take the venture money to prove you can't.

        * For those of you in Great Britain, a gozillion is a thousand gajillion :-)

    • Maybe they just use cubic zirconia
    • Combining nanotech (expensive) with diamonds (expensive) yields cheap monitors?
      The gems are expensive but the dust is relatively cheap. I've used the dust as an abrasive and really have ended up with diamonds on the soles of my shoes.
  • Diamonds... That'll shut her up... For a minute at least.

  • Does it say something about the cost of electronics when it makes it cheaper to make them out of diamond dust?
    • Re:Cheap? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gadgetfreak ( 97865 )
      Diamond dust is a very common by-product from industries that use larger diamonds Synthetic diamonds are also a lot cheaper than most people think. Diamond-embedded grinding and cutting tools have been cheaply mass-produced for quite some time now. Compared to current LCD/plasma display costs, I don't think it'd be crazy expensive.
      I guess it depends how perfect you want it.

      • I actually got the disstinction between expensive engagement diamonds and industrial dust - it's just that sometimes, one has to feign ignorance to make a bad joke.
    • Re:Cheap? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kesuki ( 321456 )
      Diamonds are actually cheap they come from one of the most common elements, carbon... DeBerrs controls 80% of the worlds gem quality diamond productions, and they refuse to sell more gem quality diamonds that the number of engagments in a year... they actually cut supply below demand*, thus making the price inflate. as an industrial material, cutting diamonds and diamond dust are market priced by more conventional market forces, and since most diamonds that come out of a mine are not gem quality, that mak
      • "*= Yes I'm aware, Russia and canada are also producing gem quality diamonds, but those mines can't exactly afford to flood the market so far that diamonds plummet in value, because thier mines have less diamonds than the debeer's mines."

        not to mention that they are very happy to be selling their products at artificially inflated prices. Besides DeBeers could easily undercut their prices if they ever tried a price war, but that would be mutually destructive. If anything the Canadian diamonds have been ma
        • Diamond prices did fall when the soviet union collapsed, and when the canadians found diamonds, but the bottom never really fell out of the diamond market... 1 carrot of diamonds below $2,000 would have been unthinkable, in any type of cut, back in the golden days of communist russia and debeer's and yet on froogle I can find a nice 3 stone 1 ct total band for $800. So yeah, there has been some loss in control over diamond pricing, but it's still at a level that DeBerrs can survive with. []
  • by Almonday ( 564768 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @04:53PM (#11109651)
    ...neeth to theck their thepelling, thister.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16, 2004 @04:54PM (#11109654)
    This diamond television means I can now buy the expensive tv I've always wanted and call it an anniversary gift.

    "But, honey, you said you wanted diamonds, right?"
  • So informative (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The article has so little information! it describes nothing of the technology except that it's going to be worked on.
    • Re:So informative (Score:1, Insightful)

      by confusion ( 14388 )
      I thought I had clicked on the wrong link at first. It is completely devoid of anything useful.

      Jerry []

    • Re:So informative (Score:4, Informative)

      by gaber1187 ( 681071 ) * on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:23PM (#11109924)
      The main publications page for this group is listed here: []

      Looks like they are using Diamond Like Carbon quite often... so its a quasi-zinc-blend structure apparently.

      With field emission they are generating electrons so somehow the electrons get enough energy to reach the vacuum level. I wonder how efficient this is since diamond's bandgap is something like 5.5 eV.


      • Re:So informative (Score:3, Informative)

        by gaber1187 ( 681071 ) *
        Ahh, I just figured out the answer. It says that diamonds have a Negative Electron Affinity. Which means that the vacuum level is more stable than the conduction band. Once the electron is excited to the higher state equalling the difference between the bandgap (5.5 eV) and the NEA value (which is 2.4 eV on hydrogen saturated surfaces) , the electron just flies out of the material instead of becoming delocalized into the crystal. So basically what they are doing is replacing the cathode ray tube as the sour
        • Once the electron is excited to the higher state equalling the difference between the bandgap (5.5 eV) and the NEA value (which is 2.4 eV on hydrogen saturated surfaces) , the electron just flies out of the material instead of becoming delocalized into the crystal.

          I'd have thought it would be "An electron in the 5.5v conduction band would be ejected from the crystal with a momentum equaling the difference between the conduction band and electron affinity voltages."

          Very sweet if that's the mechanism.

  • by loteck ( 533317 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @04:55PM (#11109666) Homepage
    Finally, men and women will be able to agree that buying a bigger one is a good idea.
  • diamond tv? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by xlyz ( 695304 )
    make your wife happy with a luxury present and enjoy watching superbowl on it
  • Wired had a great article in the past about how the synthetic diamond industry is breaking through, which means that quality synthetic diamonds may soon be cheap to use for electronics purposes. (Real diamonds are more expensive just they are naturally made, but synthetics can be virtually indistinguishable quality-wise.)
    • De Beers has controlled the majority of the diamond trade to the point that people believe they are the rarest of stones. They're not. be ers/

      • Best line ever (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Phrogman ( 80473 )
        One of the cleverest plays on words I ever heard was in regards to DeBeers during the Apartheid years in SA:

        "You bring DeBeers, and lets have Apartheid!"

        Wish I could remember who originated it...
      • to find some post so you could say that.

        It has nothing to do with the post you replied to.
        Real diamonds ARE more expensice. The reason they are more expensive has nothing to do with his point.

        Also, demand drives price, not rarity.
        I could have a one of a kind gem, but if nobody wanted it, it would be worthless.

  • SED vs. FED? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chochos ( 700687 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @04:58PM (#11109693) Homepage Journal
    Is this some kind of reference to Neal Stephenson's Age of Diamonds? The feed was the way nanotech was controlled by the Victorians, and the seed was the way to free it from that control... I know this is offtopic but a post about real nanotech mentioning SED vs FED was just... strange.
  • by Canthros ( 5769 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @04:59PM (#11109707)
    Bring stupidity into my living room with crystal clarity. I can't wait.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    if my girlfriend would wear the diamond dust flat screen on her finger when I propose. It can display the diamond ring that I will eventually get for her after I invent the next nanotechnology breakthrough, using common household dust to make dirt cheap displays.
  • I remember seeing a lecture on field emitter display technology in a class at MIT in 1980. That's 25 years ago. Sure has been a slow technology to mature...

  • Grandpa (Score:4, Funny)

    by ValuJet ( 587148 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:08PM (#11109779)
    Make a tv out of Grandpa []
  • I know a company named NanoTech but who is this NanoThech referred to in the title?
  • by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) * on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:19PM (#11109883)

    CreatureComfort writes "Aerotech scientists are going to develop new flying cars made from chicken feathers. It opens up the possibility of cheaper and more power efficient public transportation, for use in wide area commuting and many other applications. Toyota recently announced plans to launch a vehicle based on a new flat-panel driving technology called SED (Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Drive) in 2005. Ford and others have been working for several years on another technology called FED (Field Emission Drive) but that too has yet to reach commercialization."

    *Yawn**Cough**Cough**Cough* I think I'm allergic to all this vapor.

  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:22PM (#11109913) Homepage Journal
    Since we have now redefined nanotech to include anything that deals in nanometer scale structures, rather than artificially constructed mechanisms with molecules as components, how far back in time can we claim "nanotech" to have been practiced? The first crystal growth? Perhaps to the first time a crystal was cleaved along certain atomic planes?

    Perhaps we could do something similar with "space settlement" and just sort of forget that 1973 was the year that western civilization turned away from its destiny in space and began threatning the planet with globalist growth.

    That should make everyone feel better too.

    • No no, it's "Since the marketing drones have redefined nanotech to include anything that deals in nanometer scale structures, news stories have sounded more important, and venture capital has been pouring in!"
    • This is something I hear a lot from people outside of science. Who get's to decide what to name a scientific discipline? Scientests?

      Nanotechnology in science was never just really small robotics. I do put the start of nanotechnology a long time ago, specifically with the invention of nanoscale titanium dioxide, that stuff which makes paint brighter and sunscreen better. Five or ten years ago, the big push in nanotechnology was finding out what we could already make which would be that small and still i
    • Since we have now redefined nanotech

      There was no redefinition.

      anything that deals in nanometer scale structures

      "Nano tech" is "nanoscale technology", so yes, that's exactly what it means.

      rather than artificially constructed mechanisms with molecules as components

      If you want to talk about nanomachinery, you're free to use that specific word.

      What _I_ want to know is how all those slimey doctors redefined "cloning" to mean induced monozygotic reproduction, instead of building a full copy of an adult
  • They already have the trademark DiamondTron. :)
  • by ecklesweb ( 713901 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @05:25PM (#11109942)
    I believe it was Jimmie Falon - at a time when natural gas had spiked in price and alternative fuels were all the rage:
    Hey! I've got an idea? How 'bout we make a car that runs on macadamia nuts and bald eagle heads!
  • Nanotech scientists are going to develop

    ...going to develop...those are the operative words.

    My operative words are: It doesn't exist now. It may never exist. If it does exist someday it may not be cheap, or good, or available in quantity.

    Nothing to get excited about yet.

  • by Chas ( 5144 )
    <A> My is a professional football player. He bought me a diamond ring. *Shows off a huge hunk of crystaline carbon*

    <B> My boyfriend is a professional geek. He bought me a diamond flatscreen....
  • I read the diamond dust article at NanoInvestor News [], and frankly it still seems mid to long term.

    If you want a WORKING flat display, check this out this experimental flat display [] (picture) using carbon nanotubes as the electron emission source. I just glimpsed over it, but I think this was done by Motorola []. At least, the dates fit (2003).

    Recently, Samsung's Korean research achieved the same goal, and apparently they're ready for mass production []. I told this in an earlier post elsewhere. They plan to dist
    • That PDF article's pretty good, but I think they've got it wrong about burn-in problems with CRTs and the FE displays. Burn-in has always been a problem with CRTs. Just look at any old ATM or information kiosk. Phosphor coatings have well known burn-in issues. Surely FE displays, with effectively the same technology at the glass side would have the same problems.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The original statement about nanotech and dust just got me thinking about something that I hadn't considered before. Namely, has anyone ever studied the dust which results from objects created by nanotech? The reason why I'm wondering about this is due to two recent reports from the past year. The first mentioned that nanotech particles could accumulate within the brain. Sort of like a poisoning effect. The second report was about dust from computer devices made with a flame retardant; the result of which w
  • 1) Grind up 20 pounds of diamonds ...errr profit?

    Yes, I know thats not how it works.
    Yes, I know it is not as funny as I think.
  • Once again, the physorg honeypot grabs slashdot eyeballs. Physorg takes press releases and puts them up, with bad formatting, on ugly web pages... with no links to the original source.

    So here's some missing links: the press release at Bristol [], the diamond group at bristol [] and the home page of Advance Nanotech [].

    As you can see, that's a chemical vapor deposition group, so there's no need to grind up diamond dust from real diamonds. :) It's also, um, not exactly what I'd call "nanotech"... unless you consider any product involving structures at the molecular scale (like, oh, wood, or portland cement) to be "nanotech".

"You can't get very far in this world without your dossier being there first." -- Arthur Miller