A method and composition for the deposition of a thick layer (10) of diamond or diamond-like material. The method includes high temperature processing wherein a selected composition (12) including at least glassy carbon is heated in a direct current plasma arc device to a selected temperature above the softening point, in an inert atmosphere, and is propelled to quickly quenched on a selected substrate (20). The softened or molten composition (18) crystallizes on the substrate (20) to form a thick deposition layer (10) comprising at least a diamond or diamond-like material. The selected composition (12) includes at least glassy carbon as a primary constituent (14) and may include at least one secondary constituent (16). Preferably, the secondary constituents (16) are selected from the group consisting of at least diamond powder, boron carbide (B.sub.4 C) powder and mixtures thereof.
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC05-840R21400 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc. and the Government has certain rights in this invention.