Charge Transport Across High Surface Area Metal/Diamond Nanostructured Composites

Daniela Plana, Jo J L Humphrey, Kieren A Bradley, Veronica Celorrio, David J Fermin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


High surface area composites featuring metal nanostructures and diamond particles have generated a lot of interest in the fields of heterogeneous catalysis, electrocatalysis, and sensors. Diamond surfaces provide a chemically robust framework for active nanostructures in comparison with sp2 carbon supports. The present paper investigates the charge transport properties of high surface area films of high-pressure, high-temperature diamond particles in the presence and absence of metal nanostructures, employing electrochemical field-effect transistors. Oxygen- and hydrogen-terminated surfaces were generated on SOO nm diamond powders. Homogeneously distributed metal nanostructures, with metal volume fractions between ca. $ and 20%, were either nucleated at the diamond particles by impregnation or incorporated from colloidal solution. Electrochemical field-effect transistor measurements, employing interdigitated electrodes, allowed the determination of composite conductivity as a function of electrode potential, as well as in air. In the absence of metal nanostructures, the lateral conductivity of the diamond assemblies in air is increased by over one order of magnitude upon hydrogenation of the particle surface. This observation is consistent with studies at diamond single crystals, although the somewhat modest change in conductivity suggests that charge transport is not only determined by the intrinsic surface conductivity of individual diamond particles but also by particle-to-particle charge transfer. Interestingly, the latter contribution effectively controls the assembly conductivity in the presence of an electrolyte solution as the difference between hydrogenated and oxygenated particles vanishes. The conductivity in the presence of metal nanoparticles is mainly determined by the metal volume fraction, while diamond surface termination and the presence of electrolyte solutions exert only minor effects. The experimental trends are discussed in terms of the electrochemical formation of charge carriers in the diamond particles, percolation theory, and charge screening at the double layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2985-2990
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number8
Early online date19 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2013


  • high-pressure high-temperature nanodiamond
  • nanoparticles
  • nanocomposites
  • charge transport
  • percolation theory


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