Marián Marton: 15 years of diamond production in Slovakia

02. 07. 2015

Ing. Marián Marton, PhD. Bol hosťom Bratislavskej vedeckej cukrárne, kde prednášal na tému 15 rokov výroby diamantov na Slovensku Ing. Marián Marton, PhD. had studied at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at SUT and he had been devoted in his final thesis in deposition of diamond and diamond-like carbon thin films. Currently, as a researcher is interested in synthesis, analysis, and implementation of a wide range of carbon-based nanomaterials.

Diamond is the cubic crystalline form of carbon and in terms of the physical properties, it is a unique material with great potential for use. Especially, it is because of its hardness and high dispersion of light. And not just for jewellers. The researchers can even already produce it, and they use it for example in nanomaterials and nanotechnology. . Ing. Marián Marton, PhD. was a guest in Scientific confectioners in June on theme "15 years of diamond production in Slovakia ". On this occasion we asked him for an interview.

1. NCP S&T: Who did you want to be when you were a child? Have You dreamed about the scientist job then?

M. Marton: "I remember when I was child I wanted to be an astronomer or archaeologist, which are the scientific professions. Since that time I have built a positive relationship to modern technologies, the scientific career in this field was a logical result of my effort to a deeper understanding of the laws of physics and their application in technology, both in macro and nano world."

2. NCP S&T: How did you come to study at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at SUT and to work with diamonds?

M. Marton: "Interest in the field of technology had previously brought me to the Secondary Electronics School in Bratislava - Dúbravka where I gained a good grounding of the knowledge and practical skills. I wanted to develop these further at the school with the same focus, so I continued at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at SUT. Because I am a bit of an idealist and I am interested in areas that can bring us the opportunity to "improve the world", in the bachelor project I chose the theme of diamond layers, because I was interested in the possibility of their use in artificial implants and related significant improvement in quality of life. In this theme, in addition to a number of others, I devote myself till nowadays."

3. NCP S&T: What would you recommend to new candidates who would like to study at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at SUT and, for example, will be interested in the production of diamonds? Do you have any tips for them?

M. Marton: "I think that young people should pay attention to area, which they enjoy. If they then have the pleasure from the results of their efforts they are on the right path and they do not worry to study at university. I work at this department with high school students who come to us as part of study practice. We always welcome new people interested in our research and we can gradually guide them over all semesters to us."

Uhlíkové materiály, prezentácia Ing. Mariána Martoňa, PhD.4. NCP S&T: How and from what are produced "artificial" diamonds? Do they have the same properties as those that are mined?

M. Marton: "Diamond is composed of carbon, therefore, each technology must include its source, for example in solid (graphite), liquid (alcohol) or gas (methane) form.
We use vacuum technology, chemical vapor deposition, in which the methane is decomposed due to heat into simpler hydrocarbons, and these are then stored to the prepared substrate in the form of a thin layer of diamond. An important role here is played by adding hydrogen which outline graphitic bonds that grow in parallel with the diamond, allowing the formation of relatively pure diamond. Because the artificial created layers are made from a healed small crystals (are polycrystalline) and not from one single crystal as natural diamonds, they also contain minor amounts of graphite located between the individual crystals. Properties of the layers are therefore slightly behind natural diamonds. Various technologies allow their improvement, and particularly adaptation to specific needs, which allows the use of artificial diamonds in a variety of applications much more efficiently than natural diamond."

5. NCP S&T: Currently, You are working on the research of nanomaterials based on carbon? Can you reveal us more about your research?

M. Marton: "We are engaged in research of synthesis and statistical analysis of the properties of carbon nanomaterials, including nanostructured and nanocrystalline diamond, graphene, carbon nanotubes and their composites, and various modifications. These materials are interesting for us, for example, its structure and size, thanks to which they have unique characteristics. Research of graphene is one of the two flagships of European research, which demonstrates its importance. Success lies in the creative design of experimental procedures, processing and evaluation of the results obtained and interpreted properly. Based on these, then we can push the boundaries of scientific knowledge in small pieces first."

6. NCP S&T: Diamonds are most often associated to us with beautiful and expensive jewellery, but diamonds have other uses too. Where, for example?

Aplikácie 1M. Marton: "Diamond is the hardest known dimensional material, and therefore, it is being used for example in cutting and grinding tools and wherever it is needed extreme endurance. However, diamond is the best conductor of heat and sound, is optically transparent, biocompatible and resistant to the radiation. Thanks to this it is used in laser optics, sound engineer, on artificial implants, and in the heat dissipation in the transistor. Moreover, thanks to the doped, diamond changes from semiconductor to insulant, what in combination with other advantages it makes particularly attractive material for electronics and electrochemistry. Thanks to its chemical resistance and a large width of the electrochemical potential window is an ideal material for analysis and decomposition of substances in liquids. Its uniqueness shows for example in removing the alarming pollution of wastewater from medical facilities heavily contaminated with residues of antibiotics, hormonal preparations and painkillers, with which no other material cannot cope."

Aplikácie 27. NCP S&T: How does look like your typical day at work?

M. Marton: "Ideally, scientist tries to spend most of time working in the laboratory, where he realizes his ideas. These are formed by combining hardworking study of acquired knowledge with practical experience with technology. Then in the laboratory, I verify whether and how the idea works and how to improve it in technological viewpoint.

Much of my work represents the processing and publication of results in scientific journals and at conferences. Preparing a good magazine article takes from idea to publication about a year or longer and the process is quite exhausting. However, publishing is necessary because the quality of a scientist is determined precisely by the amount of outputs and citation to them.

For a vital research, scientist must know how to get scientist funds for its financing. For these purposes there are funding agencies that provide funding if I send them a quality and meaningful draft of project. Writing projects and various reports is therefore another job of scientist which I would like to avoid. In Slovakia is also a very small amount of funding intended to support research, often an almost perfect projects written on a world level are not supported and scientists go abroad or "hung up" on it.

Because I work at a university, I devote time to students who worked with us in the bachelor, class and diploma projects, but also excursion of primary and secondary schools. Thanks to that, they have access to the most current scientific knowledge, latest technology, and during their studies they are devoted to the solving of meaningful problems.

Finally, as a scientist, I travel relatively frequently, either in Slovakia or abroad, because scientists from all around the world try to work together on the issue. Cooperation with top scientific teams around the world can share the results of knowledge, know-how and technology. At the same time, the presentation of results at conferences at home and abroad allows you to make new contacts and provide you information about the current status of the field of science in the world."

8. NCP S&T: The work of scientist is often difficult. What is Your favourite way of relaxing?

M. Marton: "The best way to relax is going into the nature, so if we find a little time, I go on a bike with my girlfriend, for example, to the lake or somewhere in the forest or just on the seawall. Anyway, we also use the bike for transport to work and we do almost an hour daily active movement and therefore we are in good physical and mental form. In winter, sauna is   very helpful, we have the possibility to use it directly at the university."

Photos – source: NCP S&T, Ing. Marián Marton, PhD.

An interwiew by: Mgr. Viera Fábryová

Photo 1: Ing. Marián Marton, PhD. was a guest in Bratislava Scientific confectioners, where he had a presentation on theme "15 years of diamond production in Slovakia ".

Photo 2: Carbon Materials

Photo 3: Diamond is the hardest known dimensional material with a wide use in various fields of science and technology.

Prepared by: MI

Translated by: LŠ


Natural sciences, Technical Sciences

Scientific confectioners in June in a spirit of diamonds