Plasma deposition of diamond at low pressures: A review

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Plasma deposition techniques of nanocrystalline and microcrystalline diamond and related mechanisms at pressures below 0.1 torr are reviewed. The mechanism of nucleation and growth of diamond in low-pressure conditions is discussed theoretically and experimentally along with the role of radicals and ions in two different ion-energy ranges. For ion impact energies below 20-30 eV, diamond deposition occurs on a surface. The growth process is limited by the substrate temperature and the flux of hydrogen radicals when the ion energy is reduced enough to several eV as shown by a kinetic rate analysis for radical species. The nucleation process is limited mainly by the degree of carbon saturation and, hence, the flux of carbon-containing species. For ion impact energies above 20-30 eV, diamond deposition occurs beneath a surface. Renucleation hinders the growth and diamond nanocrystals are embedded in an amorphous carbon matrix. The nucleation process depends strongly upon the ion energy, ion-to-depositing flux ratio, and substrate temperature as shown by the film density increment based on the subplantation model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6862062
Pages (from-to)3862-3869
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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