Today, boron-doped diamond (BDD) is among the key materials for electrochemical sensing and advanced oxidation of micropollutants. Therefore, a cost-effective fabrication of large-area BDD electrodes is of high interest. We present an implementation of a liquid-phase boron precursor trimethyl borate for large-area deposition of boron-doped diamond films by linear antenna microwave plasma CVD. Trimethyl borate vapors were used not only as a source of boron for doping but also as the only source of carbon and oxygen, while completely saturating the requirements for the growth of high-quality boron-doped diamond films. However, to allow for control over the doping level through maintaining the B/C and B/O ratios, carbon dioxide was employed as an additional source of carbon and oxygen. The film morphology was controllable from microcrystalline to ultra-nanocrystalline by changing the concentrations of trimethyl borate. Using this unique precursor system, we were able to grow diamond films with a doping level in range from 8 × 1017 cm−3 to 2 × 1022 cm−3 and resistivity as low as 1.16 × 10−2 Ω·cm. Low activation energies were calculated from the Arrhenius plot and growth rates as high as up to 170 nm/h for the low pressure microwave plasma CVD were reached. The investigation of the plasma emission spectrum revealed a chemical composition similar to that of hydrogen-rich plasmas with methane, and the proposed chemical reactions indicate that the diamond growth takes place via the hydroxyl radical. The results demonstrated that trimethyl borate is a suitable source of carbon and boron for the large-area growth of highly boron-doped diamond via low pressure microwave plasma CVD methods.

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