Interface and interlayer barrier effects on photo-induced electron emission from low work function diamond films

Tianyin Sun, Franz A M Koeck, Petr B. Stepanov, Robert Nemanich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Nitrogen-doped diamond has been under investigation for its low effective work function, which is due to the negative electron affinity (NEA) produced after surface hydrogen termination. Diamond films grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) have been reported to exhibit visible light induced electron emission and low temperature thermionic emission. The physical mechanism and material-related properties that enable this combination of electron emission are the focus of this research. In this work the electron emission spectra of nitrogen-doped, hydrogen-terminated diamond films are measured, at elevated temperatures, with wavelength selected illumination from 340 nm to 450 nm. Through analysis of the spectroscopy results, we argue that for nitrogen-doped diamond films on metallic substrates, photo-induced electron generation at visible wavelengths involves both the ultra-nanocrystalline diamond and the interface between the diamond film and metal substrate. Moreover, the results suggest that the quality of the metal-diamond interface can substantially impact the threshold of the sub-bandgap photo-induced emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalDiamond and Related Materials
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Doped diamond
  • PEEM
  • Photo-induced emission
  • Thermionic emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Materials Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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