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Tuning the fabrication of nanostructures by low-energy highly charged ions

El-Said, A. S.; Wilhelm, R. A.; Heller, R.; Sorokin, M.; Facsko, S.; Aumayr, F.


Slow highly charged ions were utilized recently for the creation of monotype surface nanostructures (craters, calderas or hillocks) in different materials. In the present study, we report on the ability of slow highly charged xenon ions (129XeQ+) to form three different types of nanostructures on LiF (100) surface. By increasing the charge state from Q = 15 to Q = 36, the shape of the impact induced nanostructures changes from craters to hillocks crossing an intermediate stage of caldera structures. The dimensional analysis of the nanostructures reveals an increase of the height up to 1.5 nm as a function of the potential energy of the incident ions. Based on the evolution of both the geometry and size of the created nanostructures, defect-mediated desorption and the development of a thermal spike are utilized as creation mechanisms of the nanostructures at low and high charge states, respectively.

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