Surface activation pre-treatments for NCD films grown by HFCVD


The control of the nucleation density is essential for the production of ultra-thin, continuous and well adhered nanocrystalline diamond coatings. Surface pre-treatments such as abrasive scratching with diamond powder or bias enhanced nucleation are commonly used methods. In this work, surface activation by a pre-growth step is done using the hot-filament chemical vapour deposition (HFCVD) technique prior to seeding with diamond. The Si surface is modified during exposure to typical CVD diamond growth conditions. After ultrasonication with suspension of diamond in ethanol or n-hexane, an amorphous carbon layer is revealed at the surface of the Si substrates. The densest NCD films were obtained for the surface activation step done using a lower temperature and poorer methane mixture due to the improved seeding allowed by the amorphous carbon layer. Intermediate growth temperature of 750 degrees C resulted in high nucleation density while lower temperatures decrease it and higher ones produce a DLC nanostructured layer along with moderate NCD nucleation density. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



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Materials Science; Physics


Amaral, M; Silva, DJ; Fernandes, AJS; Costa, FM; Oliveira, FJ; Silva, RF

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