Electron energy loss spectrum, elastic reflectivity and selected vibrational excitation functions were measured by High Resolution Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (HREELS) for deuterated nanocrystalline dc GD CVD diamond films. The electron elastic reflectivity is strongly enhanced at about 13 eV, as a consequence of the second absolute band gap of diamond preserved up to the surface for D-nano-crystallites. The pure bending modes δ(CDx) at 88 meV and 107 meV are dominantly excited through the impact mechanism and their vibration excitation functions mimic the electron elastic reflectivity curve. Pure diamond phonon mode ν(CC) can be probed through the resolved fundamental loss located at 152 meV and through the multiple loss located at 300 meV. In addition to the well-known 8 eV resonance, two supplementary resonances located at 4.5 eV and 11.5 eV were identified and clearly resolved for the first time. A comprehensive set of data is now available on low-energy electron scattering at hydride terminated polycrystalline diamond films grown either by HF (microcrystalline) or dc GD (nanocrystalline) chemical vapour deposition. The careful comparison of the vibrational excitation functions for hydrogen/deuterium termination stretching modes ν(sp3-CHx) and ν(sp3-CDx), for hydrogen termination bending modes δ(CHx) mixed with diamond lattice modes ν(CC), for deuterium termination bending modes δ(CDx), and for multiple loss 2ν(CC) demonstrates the close interplay between three characteristics: (i) the density-of-states of the substrate, (ii) the vibrational excitation mechanisms (dipolar and/or impact scattering including resonant scattering) and (iii) the surface versus lattice character of the excited vibrational modes. This work shows clearly that excitation function measurement provides a powerful and sensitive tool to clarify loss attributions, involved excitation mechanisms, and surface versus lattice characters of the excited vibrational modes.
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