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Mechanisms of suppressing secondary nucleation for low-power and low-temperature microwave plasma self-bias-enhanced growth of diamond films in argon diluted methane

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Author(s): Ji-heng Jiang | Yonhua Tzeng

Journal: AIP Advances
ISSN 2158-3226

Volume: 1;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 042117;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
We report on mechanisms for suppressing diamond secondary nucleation in microwave plasma self-bias-enhanced growth (SBEG) of diamond films in methane diluted by argon. High-density plasma at a small distance from the substrate induces a floating potential which promotes high-flux, low-energy ion bombardment on diamond growing surfaces along with an equal flux of electrons. Increased atomic hydrogen generated by electron impact dissociation of methane and low-energy ion bombardment help remove hydrocarbon coatings on diamond grains in favor of continuous grain growth and, therefore, the suppression of secondary diamond nucleation. Energetic meta-stable excited argon, abundant C2 dimers, and enhanced effective surface temperature due to low-energy ion bombardment further promote the diamond grain growth resulting in the deposition of a diamond film with columnar diamond grains of much larger grain sizes and a much lower density of grain boundaries than ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) films grown under similar conditions without optimized plasma-substrate interactions. SEM, XRD, PL, and Raman scattering help confirm the deposition of diamond films with columnar grains.
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