Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Studies of Temperature-Dependent Etching of Diamond (100) by Atomic Hydrogen
We present a technique for obtaining atomic resolution ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy images of diamond (100) films, and use this technique to study the temperature dependence of the etching of epitaxial diamond (100) films by atomic hydrogen. We find that etching by atomic hydrogen is highly temperature dependent, resulting in a rough and pitted surface at T~200 and 500 °C, respectively. At T~1000 °C etching results in a smooth surface and is highly anisotropic, occurring predominantly in the direction of dimer rows. This observation supports recent theoretical models that propose anisotropic etching as the mechanism for the growth of smooth diamond (100) films.