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Elektrotechnik und Medientechnik
Combined AFM-SEM Study of the Diamond Nucleation Layer on Ir(001)
Diamond and Related Materials, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 665-670
During bias enhanced nucleation (BEN) of diamond on iridium the nucleation centres are gathered in discrete islands — the so called “domains”. The topographic signature of these domains has been clarified in the present study by two different concepts. First scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were combined to take images with both techniques of a small identical area on a standard BEN sample. In spite of the 2–3 nm deep roughening of the iridium it turned clearly out that the surface shows a 1 nm deep depression within the domains compared with the surface of the surrounding layer. On a second sample which did not show the normal roughening the domains could be identified directly from AFM images. The topographic signature of the domains was the same. Conductive AFM measurements showed that inside and outside the domains the carbon nucleation layer behaves like a high resistivity dielectric sustaining fields up to 107 V/cm. Finally, the temporal development of the domain patterns was studied by consecutive biasing steps on one sample. Depending on the local ion bombardment conditions we observed lateral growth or shrinkage on the same sample. This result suggests that domain formation is a continuous process during the whole BEN procedure starting from a local nucleation event and subsequent lateral expansion.