Growth, structural and plasma illumination properties of nanocrystalline diamond-decoratedgraphene nanoflakes

KJ Sankaran, TH Chang, Santosh Bikkarolla, SS Roy, P Papakonstantinou, S Drijkoningen,, P Pobedinskas, MK Van Bael, NH Tai, IN Lin, K Haenen

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The improvement of the plasma illumination (PI) properties of a microplasma device due to the application of nanocrystalline diamond-decorated graphene nanoflakes (NCD-GNFs) as a cathode is investigated. The improved plasma illumination (PI) behavior is closely related to the enhanced field electron emission (FEE) properties of the NCD-GNFs. The NCD-GNFs possess better FEE characteristics with a low turn-on field of 9.36 V/ mm to induce the field emission, a high FEE current density of 2.57 mA/ cm2 and a large field enhancement factor of 2380. The plasma can be triggered at a low voltage of 380 V, attaining a large plasma current density of 3.8 mA /cm2 at an applied voltage of 570 V. In addition, the NCD-GNF cathode shows enhanced lifetime stability of more than 21 min at an applied voltage of 430 V without showing any sign of degradation, whereas the bare GNFs can last only 4 min. The superior FEE and PI properties of the NCD-GNFs are ascribed to the unique combination of diamond and graphene. Transmission electron microscopic studies reveal that the NCD-GNFs contain nano-sized diamond films evenly decorated on the GNFs. Nanographitic phases in the grain boundaries of the diamond grains form electron transport networks that lead to improvement in the FEE characteristics of the NCD-GNFs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63178-63184
JournalRSC Advances
Early online date22 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2016


  • graphene nanoflakes
  • nanocrystalline diamond
  • electron field emission


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