Plasma post-treatment process was observed to markedly enhance the electron field emission (EFE) properties of ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) films. TEM examinations reveal that the prime factor which improves the EFE properties of these films is the coalescence of ultrasmall diamond grains (∼5 nm) forming large diamond grains about hundreds of nanometers accompanied by the formation of nanographitic clusters along the grain boundaries due to the plasma post-treatment process. OES studies reveal the presence of large proportion of atomic hydrogen and C2 (or CH) species, which are the main ingredients that altered the granular structure of the UNCD films. In the post-treatment process, the plasma interacts with the diamond films by a diffusion process. The recrystallization of diamond grains started at the surface region of the material, and the interaction zone increased with the post-treatment period. The entire diamond film can be converted into a nanocrystalline granular structure when post-treated for a sufficient length of time.
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