In one aspect, the invention relates to a method of producing high-quality diamond comprising the steps of providing a mixture comprising hydrogen, a carbon precursor, and oxygen; exposing the mixture to energy at a power sufficient to establish a plasma from the mixture; containing the plasma at a pressure sufficient to maintain the plasma; and depositing carbon-containing species from the plasma to produce diamond at a growth rate of at least about 10 .mu.m/hr; wherein the diamond comprises less than about 10 ppm nitrogen. The invention also relates to the apparatus, gas compositions, and plasma compositions used in connection with the methods of the invention as well as the products produced by the methods of the invention. This abstract is intended as a safety scanning tool for purposes of searching in the particular art and is not intended to be limiting of the present invention.
 This invention was made with government support under Grant No. DE-FG03-03NA00067 awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE) and Grant No. DMR-0203779 awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The U.S. government has certain rights in the invention.