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Synthesis and characterization of smooth ultrananocrystalline diamond films via low pressure bias-enhanced nucleation and growth

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11 Author(s)
Chen, Y.C. ; Department of Materials Science and Engineering, National Tsing-Hua University, Hsin-Chu 300, Taiwan ; Zhong, X.Y. ; Konicek, A.R. ; Grierson, D.S.
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This letter describes the fundamental process underlying the synthesis of ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) films, using a new low-pressure, heat-assisted bias-enhanced nucleation (BEN)/bias enhanced growth (BEG) technique, involving H2/CH4 gas chemistry. This growth process yields UNCD films similar to those produced by the Ar-rich/CH4 chemistries, with pure diamond nanograins (3–5 nm), but smoother surfaces (∼6 nm rms) and higher growth rate (∼1 μm/h). Synchrotron-based x-Ray absorption spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy studies on the BEN-BEG UNCD films provided information critical to understanding the nucleation and growth mechanisms, and growth condition-nanostructure-property relationships.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:92 ,  Issue: 13 )