Role of high microwave power on growth and microstructure of thick nanocrystalline diamond films: A comparison with large grain polycrystalline diamond films


In this work, we study the growth habit of nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) films by exploring the very high power regime, up to 4 kW, in a 5 kW microwave plasma chemical vapour deposition (NiPCVD) reactor, through addition of a small amount of nitrogen and oxygen (0.24%) into 4% CH4, in H-2 plasma. The coupled effect of high microwave power and substrate temperature on NCD growth behaviour is systematically investigated by varying only power, while fixing the remaining operating parameters. When the power increases from 2 kW to 4 kW, resulting also in rise of the Si substrate temperature higher than 150 degrees C, the diamond films obtained maintain the NCD habit, while the growth rate increases significantly. The highest growth rate of 4.6 mu m/h is achieved for the film grown at 4 kW, which represents a growth rate enhancement of about 15 times compared with that obtained when using 2 kW power. Possible factors responsible for such remarkable growth rate enhancement of the NCD films are discussed. The evolution of NCD growth characteristics such as morphology, microstructure and texture is studied by growing thick films and comparing it with that of large grain polycrystalline (PCD) films. One important characteristic of the NCD films obtained, in contrast to PCD films, is that irrespective of deposition time (i.e film thickness), their grain size and surface roughness remain in the nanometer range throughout the growth. Finally, based on our present and previous experimental results, a potential parameter window is established for fast growth of NCD films under high power conditions. (C)) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved



subject category

Crystallography; Materials Science; Physics


Tang, CJ; Fernandes, AJS; Girao, AV; Pereira, S; Shi, FN; Soares, MR; Costa, F; Neves, AJ; Pinto, JL

our authors


This work is supported by Projects PEst-C/CTM/LA0025/2011, PTDC/FIS/117632/2010 and PTDC/CIM/101453/2008 funded by COMPETE Programme-Operational Factors for Competitiveness and FEDER and by National Funds through FCT-Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation. The financial support by the National Science Foundation (NSF) of China under Grant no 51102027 is also acknowledged. One of the authors, A.V. Girao acknowledges post doctoral Grant SFRH/BPD/66407/2009 by Fcr.

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