Diamonds are the overachievers of the materials world. They can sustain incredibly high temperatures and electric fields. They also conduct heat better than any other material. These properties make them ideal for very specific applications. Currently, silicon dominates the electronics market. It’s used to make everything from your cell phone computer chip and laptop processor to microwave ovens. But as versatile as silicon is, there are certain areas where it falls flat.

DIAMOND AND RELATED MATERIALS The possibility of laser induced variation of optical and electrical properties of conductive nanocrystalline diamond (CNCD) films has been demonstrated. The films were produced by microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) from CH4:H2:N2 gas mixtures. The films were irradiated in air with 20 ns pulses of an ArF excimer laser (λ =193 nm). It was found that low laser pulse intensity (~ 0.05 J/cm2), well below film surface graphitization (~ 0.3 J/cm2) and nanoablation (~ 0.08 J/cm2) thresholds, induces changes of the film properties. The effect requires multiple pulsed irradiation and results in a decrease of the film electrical conductivity, which is accompanied by optical bleaching of the diamond film absorption.


DIAMOND AND RELATED MATERIALS Cubic boron nitride (c-BN) was deposited on silicon substrates using electron cyclotron resonance microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (ECR MPCVD) employing Ar–He–N2–H2–BF3 gas precursors at 780 °C. In situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) measurements indicated that c-BN nucleated and grew on a hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) layer that initially formed on the substrate. The minimum and maximum bias applied to the sample that yielded c-BN growth was investigated by in situ XPS. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS), elastic recoil detection (ERD), and XPS were employed to determine the chemical composition of the produced films, while XPS and in situ ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS) were employed to investigate the electronic structure of film surfaces. The bandgap of the c-BN films was estimated to be 6.2 ± 0.2 eV from XPS measurement...

MRS BULLETIN Diamond is a unique material that often exhibits extreme properties compared to other materials. Discovered about 30 years ago, the use of hydrogen in plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (CVD) has enabled the growth and coating of diamond in film form on various substrate materials. CVD diamond research has been actively continued subsequently to develop new understanding and approaches for the growth and processing of this fascinating material. Currently, the study and development of diamond films has enabled a wide range of applications based on the combination of unique and extreme properties of diamond and the variety of film properties obtainable through tuning the microstructure, morphology, impurities, and surfaces. This issue of MRS Bulletin introduces the latest research, recent applications, and the challenges ahead for CVD diamond films.

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