Title: Investigation of the Nucleation and Growth Mechanisms of Nanocrystalline Diamond/Amorphous Carbon Nanocomposite Films
Citation: DIAMOND AND RELATED MATERIALS vol. 17 no. 7-10 p. 1116-1121
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC48884
ISSN: 0925-9635
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC48884
DOI: 10.1016/j.diamond.2008.01.077
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Nucleation and growth, but especially the development of the morphology of nanocrystalline diamond/amorphous carbon (NCD/a-C) nanocomposite films have been investigated by systematic variation of three important parameters, namely the deposition time, the growth rate, and the substrate pre-treatment used to enhance the nucleation density. The films have been characterized, among others, by scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. It is shown that, by successive addition of ultradispersive diamond powder to the suspension of nanocrystalline diamond powder in n-pentane used for the ultrasonic pre-treatment, the nucleation density can be enhanced by two orders of magnitude from 1·108 cm-2 to N1·1010 cm-2. This reduces the thickness required to achieve closed films from 1 µm to 100 nm. However, once coalescence of the individual nodules emerging from the nucleation sites has taken place the films loose "memory" of the nucleation step and start to develop the typical NCD morphology consisting of larger features with diameters of some hundreds of nm which are in turn composed of much smaller features. Irrespective of the feature size and of the parameters used, the films of this investigation possess AFM rms roughnesses of 9-13 nm, indicating that rms values are not sufficient to characterize NCD surfaces.
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