The effects of ion irradiation on the surface and the subsurface of synthetic diamonds were characterized by using optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, x-ray reflectivity, electron backscatter diffraction, and resistivity measurements. Irradiation experiments with 14 MeV Au6+ ions with fluences up to 2.4×1015 ions/cm2 were carried out on synthetic single crystal diamonds, grown either at high pressure or by chemical vapor deposition, and on polycrystalline samples with high boron concentrations. We show that the ion irradiation-induced changes to the surface and subsurface of diamonds are rather complex and, especially in the first few nanometers, more severe than generally considered. We establish a model describing the changes in density, defect concentration, topology, crystallinity, and bonding from the surface down to the first few micrometers of the irradiated diamond.

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