Nucleation of diamond on silicon, SiAION, and graphite substrates coated with an a-C:H layer

J. J. Dubray, C. G. Pantano, M. Meloncelli, E. Bertran

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We investigated the influence of a hydrogenated disordered carbon (a-C:H) layer on the nucleation of diamond. Substrates c-Si( 1(0), SiAION, and highly oriented pyrolytic graphite {oool} were used in this study. The substrate surfaces were characterized with Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) while diamond growth was followed with Raman spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). It was found that on silicon and SiAION substrates the presence of the a-C:H layer enabled diamond to grow readily without any polishing treatment. Moreover, more continuous diamond films could be grown when the substrate was polished with diamond powder prior to the deposition of the a-C:H layer. This important result suggests that the nucleation of diamond occurs readily on disordered carbon surfaces, and that the formation of this type oflayer is indeed one step in the diamond nucleation mechanism. Altogether, the data refute the argument that silicon defects playa direct role in the nucleation process. Auger spectra revealed that for short deposition times and untreated silicon surfaces, the deposited layer corresponds to an amorphous carbon layer. In these cases, the subsequent diamond nucleation was found to be limited. However, when the diamond nucleation density was found to be high; i.e., after lengthy deposits of a-C:H or after diamond polishing, the Auger spectra suggested diamondlike carbon layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3012-3018
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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