De Beers' Element Six synthetic diamond firm opens Oxfordshire centre

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Synthetic diamond maker Element Six has opened its £20 million Global Innovation Centre at Harwell, near Oxford.

Employing more than 100 scientists and technologists, the 5,000m² facility consolidates Element Six’s innovation teams into one centre. The facility was officially opened on 3 July by the UK government’s minister for universities and science, David Willetts MP, and Philippe Mellier, chairman of Element Six, which is part of the De Beers group. The centre will develop synthetic diamond and related material products for customers, in industries from oil and gas drilling to precision machining and electronics.

Walter Huehn is Element Six’s chief executive officer. He said: ‘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". Quite simply the GIC puts Element Six at the forefront of diamond technology.’

Facilities at the centre include modelling and design, materials preparation, a high pressure high temperature synthesis press hall, chemical vapour deposition reactor synthesis labs,  post-synthesis processing, which involves polishing, cutting and shaping, materials analysis, characterisation, and end application testing.

Element Six designs, develops and produces synthetic diamond, and operates worldwide with its head office registered in Luxembourg. Its primary manufacturing facilities are in the US, China, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa, and the UK.