Chemical structural analysis of diamondlike carbon films: I. Surface growth model

Susumu Takabayashi, Radek Ješko, Masanori Shinohara, Hiroyuki Hayashi, Rintaro Sugimoto, Shuichi Ogawa, Yuji Takakuwa

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The surface growth mechanisms of diamondlike carbon (DLC) films has been clarified. DLC films were synthesized in atmospheres with a fixed methane-to-argon ratio at different temperatures up to 700 °C by the photoemission-assisted glow discharge of photoemission-assisted plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. The electrical resistivity of the films decreased logarithmically as the synthesis temperature was increased. Conversely, the dielectric constant of the films increased and became divergent at high temperature. However, the very high electrical resistivity of the film synthesized at 150 °C was retained even after post-annealing treatments at temperatures up to 500 °C, and divergence of the dielectric constant was not observed. Such films exhibited excellent thermal stability and retained large amounts of hydrogen, even after post-annealing treatments. These results suggest that numerous hydrogen atoms were incorporated into the DLC films during synthesis at low temperatures. Hydrogen atoms terminate carbon dangling bonds in the films to restrict π-conjugated growth. During synthesis at high temperature, hydrogen was desorbed from the interior of the growing films and π-conjugated conductive films were formed. Moreover, hydrogen radicals were chemisorbed by carbon atoms at the growing DLC surface, leading to removal of carbon atoms from the surface as methane gas. The methane molecules decomposed into hydrocarbons and hydrogen radicals through the attack of electrons above the surface. Hydrogen radicals contributed to the etching reaction cycle of the film; the hydrocarbon radicals were polymerized by reacting with other radicals and the methane source. The polymer radicals remained above the film, preventing the supply of the methane source and disrupting the action of argon ions. At high temperatures, the resultant DLC films were rough and thin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalSurface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb


  • Diamondlike carbon (DLC)
  • Photoemission-assisted plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PA-PECVD)
  • Surface growth mechanism


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