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The deposition of passive diamond layers of thickness comparable to 1 lam directly within integrated electronic and optoelectronic circuits and microelectromechanical systems promises to improve their figures of merit, in particular those influenced by heat conduction. This application of diamond poses major challenges for deposition research, yet offers important thermal design advantages over the more common application of thick diamond plates in electronic packages. This manuscript reviews research on using micron-scale passive diamond layers in microfabricated circuits and sensors and predicts the impact of these layers on temperature fields and figures of merit. The predictions benefit from a review of thermal conductivity and boundary resistance studies for micron-scale diamond layers, with a focus on those fabricated using temperatures and nucleation methods that promise compatibility with VLSI technology.