29 Jun 17

Evince wins UK funding for diamond-based cold cathode

Evince Technology (Evince) has been awarded a second Innovate UK grant to help advance the development of a diamond-based vacuum electron source or cold cathode: a critical step on the company’s technology roadmap.

The grant will see Evince working with TMD Technologies (TMD) – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-power amplifier tubes and systems – and Newcastle University on a 12 month project to apply its proprietary electron injection technology to create a ‘zero-wear’ source. This is made possible because the electron-emitting structure will be fully embedded within a synthetic diamond substrate, effectively isolating it from the vacuum and any risk of erosion.

The REDEFINE project, which is being supported by Innovate UK the UK’s innovation agency, will also help Evince to accelerate the development of a specific structural element that will be used as the company continues to develop increasingly complex synthetic diamond-based devices.

This latest project makes full use of Evince’s platform technology while potentially opening up significant new markets for us that are looking for ultra-stable, high brightness electron sources, such as high frequency communications, high energy physics and advanced materials processing. The work will also advance our progress towards controllable solid-state diamond-based devices that could offer significant cost and performance benefits over today’s silicon-based approaches for high power applications.
Gareth Taylor, CEO

Vacuum tubes are still the preferred method of amplifying microwaves for radar and satellite communication applications but the problem is that current devices rely on the use of hot filament technology as an electron source, limiting performance and operating lifetimes. A cold cathode source would eliminate the need for heating, potentially increasing tube life and efficiency, and could set a new performance benchmark for vacuum microwave tubes allowing them to be used for the first time in a number of major new markets.

REDEFINE was one of only 12 projects to successfully receive funding in a £4 million Innovate UK competition designed to encourage the use of compound semiconductors for large and scalable commercial applications. The project has already started and is due to complete in early 2018.

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