Contactless photoconductance study on undoped and doped nanocrystalline diamond films

Venkatesh Seshan, Dharmapura H.K. Murthy, Andres Castellanos-Gomez, Sumit Sachdeva, Hakeem A. Ahmad, Stoffel D. Janssens, Wiebke Janssen, Ken Haenen, Herre S.J. Van Der Zant, Ernst J.R. Sudhólter, Tom J. Savenije, Louis C.P.M. De Smet

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogen and oxygen surface-terminated nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) films are studied by the contactless time-resolved microwave conductivity (TRMC) technique and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The optoelectronic properties of undoped NCD films are strongly affected by the type of surface termination. Upon changing the surface termination from oxygen to hydrogen, the TRMC signal rises dramatically. For an estimated quantum yield of 1 for sub-bandgap optical excitation the hole mobility of the hydrogen-terminated undoped NCD was found to be ∼0.27 cm2/(V s) with a lifetime exceeding 1 s. Assuming a similar mobility for the oxygen-terminated undoped NCD a lifetime of ∼100 ps was derived. Analysis of the valence band spectra obtained by XPS suggests that upon oxidation of undoped NCD the surface Fermi level shifts (toward an increased work function). This shift originates from the size and direction of the electronic dipole moment of the surface atoms, and leads to different types of band bending at the diamond/air interface in the presence of a water film. In the case of boron-doped NCD no shift of the work function is observed, which can be rationalized by pinning of the Fermi level. This is confirmed by TRMC results of boron-doped NCD, which show no dependency on the surface termination. We suggest that photoexcited electrons in boron-doped NCD occupy nonionized boron dopants, leaving relatively long-lived mobile holes in the valence band.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11368-11375
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 23-07-2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


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