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Charge formation on ultrananocrystalline diamond films with different surface terminations

The zeta potential is one of the most sensitive indicators to monitor effects of activation and modification of ultrananocrystalline diamond films.


Diamond thin films with different crystallinities (mono-, micro-, nano- and ultrananocrystalline) are potential candidates for a number of medical and biotechnological applications, such as coatings of implants, platforms for growth and study of neurons, or active parts of biosensors. This is related with their exceptional properties, including excellent mechanical characteristics, high chemical inertness, and biocompatibility.

Diamond films prepared by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) are hydrogen-terminated. This leads to a certain degree of hydrophobicity and is responsible for the observed chemical inertness. Thus, further  functionalization towards a hydrophilic behavior or an increase in the chemical activity require a surface modification. Surface functionalization by -OH or -NH2 groups is performed by plasma treatment and photochemical methods. On the other hand, plasma fluorination will even increase the surface hydrophobicity. A measure of the degree of functionalization is the zeta potential, which reflects the charge formation at the surface-water interface

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