The Mechanism of Diamond Nucleation from Energetic Species

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Science  30 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5586, pp. 1531-1533
DOI: 10.1126/science.1074551

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A model for diamond nucleation by energetic species (for example, bias-enhanced nucleation) is proposed. It involves spontaneous bulk nucleation of a diamond embryo cluster in a dense, amorphous carbon hydrogenated matrix; stabilization of the cluster by favorable boundary conditions of nucleation sites and hydrogen termination; and ion bombardment–induced growth through a preferential displacement mechanism. The model is substantiated by density functional tight-binding molecular dynamics simulations and an experimental study of the structure of bias-enhanced and ion beam–nucleated films. The model is also applicable to the nucleation of other materials by energetic species, such as cubic boron nitride.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: apshay{at}

  • On leave from Soreq NRC, Yavne 81800, Israel.

  • Present address: Soreq NRC, Yavne 81800, Israel.

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