Photochemical etching of carbonyl groups from a carbon matrix: The (001) diamond surface

L. Weston, J. E. Downes, C. G. Baldwin, E. Granados, Sherif Abdulkader Tawfik, X. Y. Cui, C. Stampfl, R. P. Mildren

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The surface of diamond is reported to undergo nonablative photochemical etching when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation which allows controlled single and partial layer removal of lattice layers. Oxygen termination of surface dangling bonds is known to be crucial for the etching process; however, the exact mechanism of carbon ejection remains unclear. We investigate the interaction of UV laser pulses with oxygen-terminated diamond surfaces using atomic-scale surface characterization combined with first-principles time-dependent density functional theory calculations. We present evidence for laser-induced desorption (LID) from carbonyl functional groups at the diamond {001} surface. The doubly bonded carbonyl group is photoexcited into a triply bonded CO-like state, including scission of the underlying C─C bonds. The carbon removal process in LID is atom by atom; therefore, this mechanism provides a novel "top-down" approach for creating nanostructures on the surface of diamond and other carbon-containing semiconductors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number016802
Pages (from-to)016802-1-16802-5
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2019 American Physical Society. Firstly published in Physical Review Letters, 122(1), 016802. The original publication is available at Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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