Recent studies of field emission from diamond have focused on the feasibility of growing diamond films on glass substrates, which are the preferred choice for cost-effective, large area flat panel displays. However, diamond growth on glass requires temperatures < 500 °C, which is much lower than the temperature needed for growing conventional microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamond films. In addition, it is desirable to minimize the deposition time for cost-effective processing. We have grown ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) films using a unique microwave plasma technique that involves CH4-Ar gas mixtures, as opposed to the conventional CH4-H2 plasma CVD method. The growth species in the CH4-Ar CVD method are C2 dimers, resulting in lower activation energies and consequently the ability to grow diamond at lower temperatures than conventional CVD diamond processes. For the work discussed here, the UNCD films were grown with plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) at low temperatures on glass substrates coated with Ti thin films. The turn-on field was as low as 3 V/μm for a film grown at 500 °C with a gas chemistry of l%CH4/99%Ar at 100 Torr, and 7 V/μm for a film grown at 350 °C. UV Raman spectroscopy revealed the presence of high quality diamond in the films.
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Corrigan, T.D., Krauss, A.R., Gruen, D.M. et al. Low Temperature Growth of Ultra-Nanocrystalline Diamond on Glass Substrates for Field Emission Applications. MRS Online Proceedings Library 593, 233–236 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-593-233