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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)