The Global Innovation Centre in Harwell will focus on developing new synthetic diamond based applications

World's largest synthetic diamond centre opens in Harwell

New £20m research facility employing 100 scientists is set to become world’s foremost developer of synthetic-diamond-based products for electronics, gas and oil industry.

Employing 100 scientists and other staff, the site near Harwell is owned by Element Six. Unveiling the new supermaterial research centre today was UK’s Science Minister David Willetts. "The decision by Element Six to site their world-class research and development facility in Harwell is a significant vote of confidence in Britain's advanced manufacturing sector," he said.

Element Six’s chief executive Walter Huehn believes that opening the site in the UK will help the company foster relationships with industry. "For the first time in the global synthetic diamond industry, we can partner with customers to rapidly design, manufacture and test market-ready solutions all under one roof," he said.

Officially named the Global Innovation Centre (GIC), the 5,000m2 facility will bring Element Six’s global innovation teams together. The centre’s facilities include labs for modelling and design, materials preparation rooms, a High Pressure High Temperature synthesis press hall, a Chemical Vapour Deposition reactor, synthesis labs, labs for post-synthesis processing, materials analysis and characterisation and end application testing facilities.  

The teams will work on rapid development of customised materials within abrasive and technology applications aiming at a whole range of industries, including oil and gas drilling, precision mechanics, electronics or water treatment.

Element Six, having a 50-year long tradition, has recently succeeded in the market with its synthetic diamond road-pick that offers a lifespan 40 times of that of a conventional road pick. The company is also manufacturing sensors used in CERN’s Large Hardon Collider and developed synthetic diamond tweeter that were awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation.

The company, headquartered in Louxembourg, has previously built manufacturing facilities in the US, China, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and South Africa.

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