Publications Repository - Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

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Shaping of submicrometer-structures by swift heavy ion irradiation
Ferhati, R.; Guilliard, N.; Weishaar, T.; Amirthapandian, S.; Fritzsche, M.; Bischoff, L.; Bolse, W.;
Processing of small structures on µm- or nm-scales using swift heavy ions of some MeV/u energy (SHI) has become an important research topic because of the unique features of the ion irradiation technique. Each single ion impact in the solid results in a highly excited (some eV per atom), almost one-dimensional excitation, which because of its cold surrounding lasts for only a few tens of picoseconds. In many crystalline materials (especially insulators) this rapidly quenched local excitation manifests itself in a highly disordered or even amorphous cylinder of the above mentioned dimensions. The irradiation was carried out in our new in-situ high resolution scanning electron microscope (HRSEM), which we have recently installed at the new UNILAC accelerator of the Helmholtz Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Darmstadt. This setup enables us to perform sequences of combined ion irradiation and HRSEM analysis steps at one and the same spot on target surface throughout the whole experiment and allows us to investigate the evolution of individual objects during ion irradiation with a lateral resolution of a few nm. The specimen consisted of a 100 nm thick NiO film, which has been deposited onto an oxidized Si substrate by of reactive magnetron sputtering. The film was prestructured with a grid of 50 x 50 right-angled trenches by means of a focused ion beam (FIB) at the Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. The trenches extended from the surface down to the NiO/SiO2 interface and had a width of about 100 nm. The distances were varied from 0.2 µm to 5 µm, with always 5 trenches having the same distance. This way NiO-blocks of 100 nm height were created, having quadratic (along the diagonal of the grid) respectively rectangular cross sections (off-grid elements). The specimen was then irradiated with 5.9 MeV/u U-ions under grazing incidence (tilt angle 80) and continuous azimuthal rotation (angular velocity 1.45_/s). We have investigated the reshaping of µm- to nm-sized rectangular NiO-blocks by SHI irradiation under grazing incidence and continuous azimuthal rotation. While initially small blocks form single pillar-like structures, blocks of larger dimensions rearrange into tooth-like objects. Below a certain size (~100 nm in diameter) the structures become instable and start to move and coalesce. The plastic deformation and the formation of the pillars can be understood in terms of the hammering effect (or better: in terms of isotropic tensile in-plane stresses due to the irradiation). The observed saturation effect and the instability until now remain unexplained and need further experiments for their clarification.
Keywords: oxide films, FIB, swift heavy ions, submicron structures
  • Contribution to external collection
    Prof. Dr. Peter Michler, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Bolse: Annual Report 2009, Institut für Halbleiteroptik und funktionale Grenzflächen, Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart: Universität Stuttgart, 2010, 48-49

Publ.-Id: 14824 - Permalink