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Carbon nitride films were prepared using an electron cyclotron resonance enhanced chemical vapor deposition apparatus. A two-step mode was adopted in which a diamond layer was first deposited onto the substrate (Si or Mo), and then the carbon nitride films were grown. Detailed x-ray photoelectron analyses show that the carbon and nitrogen atoms have formed a nonpolar covalent bond. The nitrogen concentrations in the films remain unchanged when the substrate temperatures vary from 100 to 700 °C, which suggests that a stable phase has formed. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.