Wednesday, August 13

False Friends | The Diamond Age

[False Friends | The Diamond Age]

Well, we all know that some of our friends are false. And, I remember learning as a little girl that Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend. Now, to complicate matters, some artful entrepreneurs are making it even more difficult to tell whether our sparkly friends are real.

Hmmmmmmmm, call me gauche, but I'd wear them.

Anyway, back to the story:
Diamond, it turns out, is a geek's best friend. Not only is it the hardest substance known, it also has the highest thermal conductivity - tremendous heat can pass through it without causing damage. Today's speedy microprocessors run hot - at upwards of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, they can't go much faster without failing. Diamond microchips, on the other hand, could handle much higher temperatures, allowing them to run at speeds that would liquefy ordinary silicon. But manufacturers have been loath even to consider using the precious material, because it has never been possible to produce large diamond wafers affordably. With the arrival of Gemesis, the Florida-based company, and Apollo Diamond, in Boston, that is changing. Both startups plan to use the diamond jewelry business to finance their attempt to reshape the semiconducting world. . . . 

If diamond is ever to be a practical material for semiconducting, it will need to be affordably grown in large wafers. (The silicon wafers Intel uses, for example, are 1 foot in diameter.) CVD [chemical vapor deposition] growth is limited only by the size of the seed placed in the Apollo machine. Starting with a square, waferlike fragment, the Linares process will grow the diamond into a prismatic shape, with the top slightly wider than the base. For the past seven years - since Robert Linares first discovered the sweet spot - Apollo has been growing increasingly larger seeds by chopping off the top layer of growth and using that as the starting point for the next batch. At the moment, the company is producing 10-millimeter wafers but predicts it will reach an inch square by year's end and 4 inches in five years. The price per carat: about $5.
It seems the Diamond Age may indeed be upon us.

BTW: Do you recall the lyrics?

Let me help you . . . .

The French are glad to die for love
They delight in fighting duels
But I prefer a man who lives
And gives expensive jewels

A kiss on the hand may be quite continental
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend

A kiss may be grand but it won’t pay the rental
On your humble flat
Or help you at the automat

Men grow cold as girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end
But square-cut or pear-shaped
Those rocks don’t lose their shape

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

There may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend

There may come a time when a hard-boiled employer
Thinks you’re awful nice
But ‘get that ice’ or else ‘no dice’

He’s your guy when stocks are high
But beware when they start to descend
It’s then that those louses
Go back to their spouses

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

I hope that song sticks in your head. I've had several songs stuck in my head today, and I've been told that the only way to get them out is to either give them to someone else or find another one.