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The microstructure, friction and wear characteristics of the as‐deposited and carbon ion (160 keV, 6.7×1017 ions/cm2) implanted polycrystalline diamond films grown by plasma‐enhanced chemical vapor deposition were studied. Cross sectional transmission electron microscopy revealed the amorphous nature of the ion bombarded film. Raman peaks of the ion‐implanted film are found to be consistent with the noncrystalline carbon. The pin‐on‐disk technique was used to determine the friction and wear characteristics of the diamond films in an ultrahigh vacuum (10-7 Pa) at room temperature. Compared to the as‐deposited film, considerable reduction in friction and wear of the ion‐implanted film was observed. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.