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Issue 19, 2012
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Local boron environment in B-doped nanocrystalline diamond films

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Thin films of heavily B-doped nanocrystalline diamond (B:NCD) have been investigated by a combination of high resolution annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy and spatially resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy performed on a state-of-the-art aberration corrected instrument to determine the B concentration, distribution and the local B environment. Concentrations of ∼1 to 3 at.% of boron are found to be embedded within individual grains. Even though most NCD grains are surrounded by a thin amorphous shell, elemental mapping of the B and C signal shows no preferential embedding of B in these amorphous shells or in grain boundaries between the NCD grains, in contrast with earlier work on more macroscopic superconducting polycrystalline B-doped diamond films. Detailed inspection of the fine structure of the boron K-edge and comparison with density functional theory calculated fine structure energy-loss near-edge structure signatures confirms that the B atoms present in the diamond grains are substitutional atoms embedded tetrahedrally into the diamond lattice.

Graphical abstract: Local boron environment in B-doped nanocrystalline diamond films

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Article information

18 Jun 2012
06 Aug 2012
First published
09 Aug 2012

Nanoscale, 2012,4, 5960-5964
Article type

Local boron environment in B-doped nanocrystalline diamond films

S. Turner, Y. Lu, S. D. Janssens, F. Da Pieve, D. Lamoen, J. Verbeeck, K. Haenen, P. Wagner and G. Van Tendeloo, Nanoscale, 2012, 4, 5960
DOI: 10.1039/C2NR31530K

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