Synthesis and characterization of nano-crystalline diamond films

Chimowa, George
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The objective of this project is to understand the details of the electronic transport in low dimensional carbon structures at low temperatures as well as high magnetic fields. The emphasis is on the quasi-2 dimensional thin grain boundary regions of nanodiamond films and one dimensional carbon nanotubes. As such nitrogen “doped” and undoped nanodiamond films were synthesized by the hot filament chemical vapor deposition method (HFCVD). The films were micro-structurally and electrically characterized using several techniques such as Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and magnetoresistance (MR) measurements. The electronic transport properties were compared to the films deposited by microwave plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (MWCVD). The conductivity revealed a typical semiconducting and semi-metallic behavior for the HFCVD films depending on the nitrogen percentage in the chamber. The dephasing time of the electronic wave function was found to be weakly temperature dependant i.e. τ T-p with p < 1, a behavior reported in artificial superlattices. These results show potential application of these materials in novel nano-electronic devices. Previously the transport mechanism in nanodiamond films has been attributed to hopping conduction in the grain boundaries which is predominately disordered sp2 phases. Our studies on nanodiamond films have however shown different mechanisms in these films. We observed very little contribution from hopping and pronounced weak localization contributions in nanodiamond films. We thus establish the significance of tunneling transport in nanodiamond films. We also studied the electronic transport in films of metal filled multiwalled carbon nanotubes which show significant contribution from the hopping mechanism and a negative magnetoresistance at low fields that crosses over into positive MR at high magnetic fields.
MSc, Faculty of Science, University of the Witswatersrand, 2011
nanodiamond films , tunneling transport , magnetoresistance , electronic transport