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Nanoscale scanning electron microscopy based graphitization in tetrahedral amorphous carbon thin films

: Klein, Frederik; Treske, Uwe; Koitzsch, Andreas; Cavicchia, Demetrio R.; Thönnißen, Carsten; Frömter, Robert; Roch, Teja; Mühl, Thomas


Carbon 107 (2016), pp.536-541
ISSN: 0008-6223
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
MU 1794/8-1
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
BE 1875/23-1
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IWS ()
amorphous carbon; amorphous films

Electron beam lithography is a powerful maskless tool to fabricate structures on the nanometer scale. Here, we show that low-keV-electron beams enable a direct patterning of tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C) thin films by inducing a local graphitization without the need for any resist or development process step. Irradiation with 4 keV electrons leads to a local decrease of the ta-C film's electrical resistance and an increase of both the sp2/sp3-ratio and the material's work function. We investigate the impact of electron exposure on ta-C by a variety of microscopy as well as spectroscopy methods including scanning tunneling microscope-based current-distance spectroscopy, conductive atomic force microscopy, spatially resolved ultraviolet and x-ray photo emission spectroscopy, and μ-Raman spectroscopy. The electron exposure has been performed under ultrahigh vacuum conditions to prevent from electron-induced deposition of contaminants which may obstruct the application of surface-sensitive analysis techniques to the modified ta-C films.