Field emission properties of nitrogen-doped diamond films

A. T. Sowers, B. L. Ward, S. L. English, R. J. Nemanich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


This study explores the field emission properties of nitrogen-doped diamond grown by microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition. Over 70 nitrogen-doped diamond samples were grown on silicon and molybdenum under varying process conditions. Under certain conditions, films can be grown which exhibit photoluminescence bands at 1.945 and 2.154 eV that are attributed to single substitutional nitrogen. Photoelectron emission microscopy with UV free electron laser excitation indicated a 0 or negative electron affinity. Field emission characteristics were measured in an ultrahigh vacuum with a variable distance anode technique. For samples grown with gas phase [N]/[C] ratios less than 10, damage from microarcs occurred during the field emission measurements. Samples grown at higher [N]/[C] content could be measured prior to an arcing event. Contrary to other reports on nitrogen-doped diamond, these measurements indicate relatively high threshold fields (>100 V/μm) for electron emission. We suggest that the nitrogen in these films is compensated by defects. A defect-enhanced electron emission model from these films is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3973-3982
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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