Diamond Film Growth by MWPECVD Techique

(MicroWave Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition)

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) processes assisted by plasmas, commonly known as plasma assisted CVD (PACVD) or plasma enhanced CVD (PECVD), are versatile in the production of materials with properties needful for the high-tech industries as microelectronic, optoelectronic, photovoltaic, biomaterials, food packaging, automobile, sensors. By choosing the right volatile monomers, also mixed with inert gases (Ar, He, etc.), and gases like H2, O2, N2, it is possible to deposit thin film having unique and reliable electrical, chemical and structural properties, on any vacuum compatible substrates.

In this research activity, undoped nanocrystalline (NCD) and polycrystalline diamond (PCD) films are deposited by microwave PECVD (MWPECVD) technique starting from gas mixtures of CH4 highly diluted (less than 5%) in Ar and H2, respectively.

The diamond has superior and unique physical properties such as extreme mechanical hardness, highest known thermal conductivity, broad optical transparency from the deep UV to the far IR radiations and chemical inertness to cite just a few. The last two and half decades have witnessed an increasing interest in synthetic NCD and PCD growth in film form by employing MWPECVD (see below) and HFCVD (Hot Filament CVD) techniques. The deposition process is in-situ monitored by Pyrometric (PI) and Laser Reflectance (LRI) Interferometries, and by Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES).

For details see refs. [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10]


Moreover, the active species produced in plasmas can modify the surface of materials preserving their bulk properties. Specifically, the H2 microwave plasma is used to hydrogenate the surface of diamond or diamond powder because the hydrogen coverage turns the positive electron affinity (PEA) in negative one (NEA). The NEA is responsible for the strong enhancement of photoemission when utilized as emitters.


NCD and PCD films are characterized by Raman spectroscopy, atomic force (AFM) and scanning electron (SEM) microscopies, and x-ray diffraction (XRD).


Facilities & Labs

MWPECVD Laboratory @ Bari




CNR Senior Researcher



Associate PostDoc


  1. G. S. Senesi, G. Cicala, Morphological characterization of diamond coatings grown by MWPECVD on hexagonal boron nitride, International Journal of Engineering Research & Science 1 9-19 (2015) ISSN: 2395-6992.
  2. G. Cicala, V. Magaletti, G.S. Senesi, G. Carbone, D. Altamura, C. Giannini, R. Bartali, Superior hardness and Young’s modulus of low temperature nanocrystalline diamond coatings, Mater Chem Phys, 144, 505-511, (2014) ISSN: 0254-0584; doi: 10.1016/j.matchemphys.2014.01.027.
  3. G. Cicala, V. Magaletti, G. S. Senesi, M. Tamborra, Smoothness improvement of micrometer and submicrometer-thick nanocrystalline diamond films produced by MWPECVD, J. Nanopart. Res., 15, 1549 (14pp), (2013) ISSN: 1388-0764; DOI 10.1007/s11051-013-1549-x.
  4. G. Cicala, Deposition of carbon based-materials by continuous and pulsed discharges, Surface Engineering, 28, 141-148, (2012) ISSN: 0267-0844; DOI 10.1179/1743294411Y.0000000080.
  5. G. Cicala, D. Monéger, D. Cornacchia, P.Pesce, V. Magaletti, G. Perna, V. Capozzi, M. Tamborra, Toward smooth MWPECVD diamond films: exploring the limits of the hydrogen percentage in Ar/H2/CH4 gas mixture, Surface & Coatings Technology 211 152-157 (2012) ISSN: 0257-8972; doi: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2011.09.065.
  6. A. Gicquel, N. Derkaoui, C. Rond, F. Benedic, G. Cicala, D. Moneger, K. Hassouni, Quantitative analysis of diamond deposition reactor efficiency, Chemical Physics, 398, 239-247, (2012) ISSN: 0301-0104; doi: 10.1016/j.chemphys.2011.08.022.
  7. M. A. Nitti, G.Cicala, R.Brescia, A.Romeo, J.B.Guion, G. Perna, V.Capozzi, Mechanical Properties of MWPECVD Diamond Coatings on Si Substrate via Nanoindentation, Diamond and Related Materials, 20, 221-226, (2011) ISSN: 0925-9635; doi: 10.1016/j.diamond.2010.12.002.
  8. G. Cicala, R. Brescia, M.A. Nitti, A. Romeo, D. Altamura, C. Giannini, M. Capitelli, P. Spinelli, S. Schutzmann, Study of polycrystalline diamond deposition by continuous and pulsed discharges, Surface & Coatings Technology 204, 1884-1888, (2010) ISSN: 0257-8972; doi:10.1016/j.surfcoat.2009.09.001.
  9. G. Cicala, P. Bruno, F. Bénédic, F. Silva, K. Hassouni, G.S.Senesi, Nucleation, growth and characterization of nanocrystalline diamond films, Diamond Relat.Mater. 14, 421- 425, (2005) ISSN: 0925-9635; doi: 10.1016/j.diamond.2004.12.025.
  10. P. Bruno, F. Bénédic, A. Tallaire, F. J. Oliveira, M.S. Amaral, A. J. Fernandes, G. Cicala and R.F. Silva, Deposition of nanocrystalline diamond films on silicon nitride ceramic substrates using pulsed microwave discharges in Ar/H2/CH4 gas mixture” Diamond Rel. Mater. 14, 432-436, (2005) ISSN: 0925-9635; doi: 10.1016/j.diamond.2004.10.023.


1a. A. Valentini, D. Melisi, G. De Pascali, G. Cicala, L. Velardi, A. Massaro, High-efficiency nanodiamond-based ultraviolet photocathodes, 2016 (Patent n. WO 2017/051318). 


Method for the production of high efficiency photocathodes for ultraviolet based on nanodiamonds, comprising providing a support (10; 20, 21) capable of conducting electrons, and producing a photosensitive layer of nanodiamonds (30) on the support (10; 20, 21).

Production of the photosensitive layer includes providing nanodiamond particles in the form of powder, hydrogenating the nanoparticles in a H2 plasma, preparing a dispersion of the hydrogenated particles in a solvent, and spraying the dispersion onto the support and waiting for the solvent to evaporate from the support, the spray and waiting cycle being repeated several times in order to obtain a continuous photosensitive layer.


Progetto Partenariati Regionali per l’Innovazione – PUGLIA Fesr (2007-2013)
Development of a diamond film detector for ultraviolet radiation, Progetto Strategico ATS PS_136 of Regione Puglia, Italy (2007-2010)
APULIA SPACE: Esperti nell’uso di tecnologia abilitanti nel settore dello spazio,  PON03PE_00067_6, (2014-2016)

Latest News

Technology Trasfer in Nanotechnology

Technology Transfer in Nanotechnology: Challenges and Opportunity

Lecce, 18/19 ottobre 2018

CNR NANOTEC c/o Campus Ecotekne

JRC in collaboration with the National Research Council (Cnr) is organising a workshop on Technology Transfer in Nanotechnology,

which will take place in CNR Nanotec (Lecce, Italy) on 18 and 19 October. This workshop is organised in the framework of the TTO-CIRCLE initiatives.   The aim of this event is to explore how technology transfer activities can be used as a mechanism to help EU industry, particularly Start-ups and SMEs, and Government in deploying and adopting Nano-technology. Practical examples will be presented to illustrate the potential of technology transfer in this area.   The workshop will gather technology providers, industry executives, technology transfer officers, policy makers and financial intermediaries to share experiences and lessons learned. One of the key objectives is to discuss policy implications at all levels that could help accelerating the adoption of Nanotechnology by the European manufacturing industry. More informations: Download Locandina

Nanotechnology Transfer Day

26 Luglio 2018 - Lecce

CNR NANOTEC c/o Campus Ecotekne Siglato l’accordo lo scorso maggio tra CNR NANOTEC e Pairstech Capital Management, ha preso il via la collaborazione con PhD TT per la valutazione della ricerca

E’partita la collaborazione con PhD TT per la valorizzazione della ricerca sulla base dell’accordo siglato lo scorso Maggio tra CNR NANOTEC e Pairstech Capital Management, società di gestione patrimoniale che fornisce agli investitori istituzionali e privati un insieme di veicoli di investimento, al fine di valorizzare i risultati della ricerca svolta all'interno dell'Istituto.

Giovedì 19 Luglio dalle ore 11 alle ore 14 nella sede del CNR Nanotec di Lecce si è tenuto un incontro sul trasferimento tecnologico nel settore delle nanotecnologie applicate al settore biomedicale.

L’evento è stato organizzato dall’ufficio di Trasferimento Tecnologico del CNR Nanotec che ha inaugurato con questa giornata un ciclo di eventi mirato a presentare agli attori dell’ecosistema dell’innovazione nel settore delle nanotecnologie i vari modelli e alcune best practice di trasferimento tecnologico. In questa prima giornata il dott. Heber Verri e la dott.ssa Paola Urbani hanno presentato il nuovo modello di trasferimento tecnologico PhD TTãIndex Model.

PhD TT è una realtà italiana completamente indipendente specializzata in trasferimento tecnologico, è un acceleratore organizzato per il Go to Venture Practice, orientata al mondo delle Lifes Sciences.

PhD TT ha sviluppato un nuovo modello di trasferimento tecnologico: il PhD TT©INDEX MODEL dedicato alla generazione di valore dell'innovazione, focalizzato alla riduzione dei rischi delle opportunità di investimento a sostegno della ricerca.

I ricercatori intervengono attivamente nell'analisi iniziale di fattibilità e nella costituzione della futura società (start-up), con l'obiettivo di attrarre capitale di rischio utile a sostenere la fase del trasferimento tecnologico nella visione della "Research for go-to-market".

Il modello PhD TT nasce da un bisogno del mercato, quello di far dialogare due mondi estremamente diversi tra loro: il mondo della ricerca e il mondo degli investimenti.

PhD TT supporta tutte le attività in collaborazione con il TTO - CNR Nanotec con un team di lavoro esperto e grazie a un comitato scientifico-economico qualificato.

In occasione dell'evento del 19/7 u.s. al CNR Nanotec di Lecce, PHD TT ha presentato il proprio track record, dove si sono potuti valutare in dettaglio i casi di successo di intervento del PhD TT©INDEX MODEL.

  Comunicato Stampa Photo Gallery

Disordered serendipity: a glassy path to discovery

A workshop in honour of Giorgio Parisi’s 70th birthday

September 19-21, 2018 - Roma

Sapienza University

With the occasion of celebrating Giorgio Parisi 70th birthday, the conference "Disordered serendipity: a glassy path to discovery" brings to Rome many among the world-leading experts in the field of complex systems. In order to properly represent the many fields of research where Giorgio Parisi gave a relevant contribution in his studies of disordered systems, the conference covers a broad spectrum of topics: from  fundamental and rigorous analysis of the statistical mechanics of disorder systems to applications in biology and computer science. These subjects are deeply interconnected since they are characterized by the presence of glassy behavior.