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We report on mechanisms for suppressing diamond secondary nucleation in microwaveplasma self-bias-enhanced growth (SBEG) of diamondfilms in methane diluted by argon. High-density plasma at a small distance from the substrate induces a floating potential which promotes high-flux, low-energy ion bombardment on diamond growing surfaces along with an equal flux of electrons. Increased atomic hydrogen generated by electron impact dissociation of methane and low-energy ion bombardment help remove hydrocarbon coatings on diamond grains in favor of continuous grain growth and, therefore, the suppression of secondary diamondnucleation. Energetic meta-stable excited argon, abundant C2 dimers, and enhanced effective surface temperature due to low-energy ion bombardment further promote the diamond grain growth resulting in the deposition of a diamondfilm with columnar diamond grains of much larger grain sizes and a much lower density of grain boundaries than ultrananocrystalline diamond(UNCD)films grown under similar conditions without optimized plasma-substrate interactions. SEM, XRD, PL, and Raman scattering help confirm the deposition of diamondfilms with columnar grains.


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