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We report large negative electron affinity (NEA) on diamond (100) using magnesium adsorption on a previously oxygen-terminated surface. The measured NEA is up to (−2.01±0.05) eV, the largest reported negative electron affinity to date. Despite the expected close relationship between the surface chemistry of Mg and Li species on oxygen-terminated diamond, we observe differences in the adsorption properties between the two. Most importantly, a high-temperature annealing step is not required to activate the Mg-adsorbed surface to a state of negative electron affinity. Diamond surfaces prepared by this procedure continue to possess negative electron affinity after exposure to high temperatures, air, and even immersion in water.
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