X-ray quantification of oxygen groups on diamond surfaces for quantum applications

N. Dontschuk, L. V.H. Rodgers, J. P. Chou, D. A. Evans, K. M. O’Donnell, H. J. Johnson, A. Tadich, A. K. Schenk, A. Gali, N. P. de Leon, A. Stacey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Identifying the surface chemistry of diamond materials is increasingly important for device applications, especially quantum sensors. Oxygen-related termination species are widely used because they are naturally abundant, chemically stable, and compatible with stable nitrogen vacancy centres near the diamond surface. Diamond surfaces host a mixture of oxygen-related species, and the precise chemistry and relative coverage of different species can lead to dramatically different electronic properties, with direct consequences for near-surface quantum sensors. However, it is challenging to unambiguously identify the different groups or quantify the relative surface coverage. Here we show that a combination of x-ray absorption and photoelectron spectroscopies can be used to quantitatively identify the coverage of carbonyl functional groups on the { 100 } diamond surface. Using this method we reveal an unexpectedly high fraction of carbonyl groups ( > 9%) on a wide range of sample surfaces. Furthermore, through a combination of ab initio calculations and spectroscopic studies of engineered surfaces, we reveal unexpected complexities in the x-ray spectroscopy of oxygen terminated diamond surfaces. Of particular note, we find the binding energies of carbonyl-related groups on diamond differs significantly from other organic systems, likely resulting in previous misestimation of carbonyl fractions on diamond surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045901
JournalMaterials for Quantum Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


  • DFT
  • XPS
  • diamond surface for NV centres
  • oxygen terminated diamond
  • surface spectroscopy


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