The Microwave Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (MECVD) method is used to grow a wide variety of diamond layers at IMO-IMOMEC. With this method, microwaves ignite methane gas and an abundance of hydrogen gas at low pressure to generate a hot plasma with reactive particles which perform the diamond growth. Three commercial ASTeX systems and one home build system make it possible to grow single crystal diamond, polycrystalline diamond films, nanocrystalline ultra-thin diamond films and diamond like carbon films on a substrate of several inches in diameter depending on the type of MECVD system.
If the amount of dopants is tuned during the MECVD process, diamond can have the properties of an electronic insulator, semiconductor, metal and even a superconductor. Boron, Phosphorus and nitrogen are the main dopants used and for each type of dopant a dedicated MECVD system is used. The type of substrates on which diamond is grown varies. Mostly, materials which can stand high temperatures are suitable to act as a substrate.