Electron affinity of cubic boron nitride terminated with vanadium oxide

Yu Yang, Tianyin Sun, Joseph Shammas, Manpuneet Kaur, Mei Hao, Robert Nemanich

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10 Scopus citations


A thermally stable negative electron affinity (NEA) for a cubic boron nitride (c-BN) surface with vanadium-oxide-termination is achieved, and its electronic structure was analyzed with in-situ photoelectron spectroscopy. The c-BN films were prepared by electron cyclotron resonance plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition employing BF3 and N2 as precursors. Vanadium layers of ∼0.1 and 0.5 nm thickness were deposited on the c-BN surface in an electron beam deposition system. Oxidation of the metal layer was achieved by an oxygen plasma treatment. After 650 °C thermal annealing, the vanadium oxide on the c-BN surface was determined to be VO2, and the surfaces were found to be thermally stable, exhibiting an NEA. In comparison, the oxygen-terminated c-BN surface, where B2O3 was detected, showed a positive electron affinity of ∼1.2 eV. The B2O3 evidently acts as a negatively charged layer introducing a surface dipole directed into the c-BN. Through the interaction of VO2 with the B2O3 layer, a B-O-V layer structure would contribute a dipole between the O and V layers with the positive side facing vacuum. The lower enthalpy of formation for B2O3 is favorable for the formation of the B-O-V layer structure, which provides a thermally stable surface dipole and an NEA surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number165310
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 28 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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