This study investigates how the surface conductivity of H-terminated diamond can be preserved and stabilized by using a dielectric layer with an in situ post-deposition treatment. Thin layers of Al2O3 were grown by plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) on H-terminated undoped diamond (100) surfaces. The changes of the hole accumulation layer were monitored by correlating the binding energy of the diamond C 1s core level with electrical measurements. The initial PEALD of 1 nm Al2O3 resulted in an increase of the C 1s core level binding energy consistent with a reduction of the surface hole accumulation and a reduction of the surface conductivity. A hydrogen plasma step restored the C 1s binding energy to the value of the conductive surface, and the resistance of the diamond surface was found to be within the range for surface transfer doping. Further, the PEALD growth did not appear to degrade the surface conductive layer according to the position of the C 1s core level and electrical measurements. This work provides insight into the approaches to establish and control the two-dimensional hole-accumulation layer of the H-terminated diamond and improve the stability and performance of H-terminated diamond electronic devices.

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