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Emergence of nanoscale patterns under ion induced non-equilibrium conditionsFacsko, S.ORC
Various self-organized nanoscale patterns emerge on surfaces which are irradiated by low- or medium-energy ion beams . Depending on the irradiation conditions, hexagonally ordered dot or pit patterns, checkerboard patterns, as well as periodic ripple patterns are formed spontaneously due to the non-equilibrium conditions induced by continuous ion irradiation. In the collision cascade induced by an ion impact several defects, including interstitials, vacancies, ad-atoms and more complex defects are created. Below the recrystallization temperature, the surface is thus quickly amorphized by continuous ion irradiation and massive mass-transport takes place due to momentum-transfer from the ions to the near-surface atoms. Furthermore, ion sputtering is eroding the material non-homogeneously inducing a roughening instability.
On amorphous or amorphized surfaces, the formation of periodic patterns at high ion fluences results from an interplay of different roughening mechanisms, e.g. curvature dependent sputtering, ballistic mass redistribution, or altered surface stoichiometry on binary materials, and smoothing mechanisms, e.g. surface diffusion or viscous flow. Therefore, the patterns obey the symmetry given by the ion beam direction, i.e. hexagonal near order at normal incidence and two-fold symmetry with the ripple direction oriented perpendicular or parallel to the ion beam direction at off-normal incidence.
If the temperature during ion irradiation is above the recrystallization temperature of the material, ion induced defects are dynamically annealed and amorphization is prevented. The diffusion of ion-induced vacancies and ad-atoms on the crystalline surface is now additionally affected by the Ehrlich-Schwoebel barrier, like in molecular beam epitaxy. Vacancies and ad-atoms are trapped on terraces and can nucleate to form pits or terraces, respectively. Patterns formed in this regime exhibit the symmetry of the crystal structure of the irradiated surface and often have inverse pyramidal shapes with well-defined facets [2,3]. Therefore, this mechanism is called “reverse epitaxy”.
1.1. Ion induced patterns on Ge and GaAs
In Fig. 1 examples of ion irradiation induced pattern are shown for amorphized Ge surface (a, b) and for Ge (001) (c) and GaAs (001) (d) irradiated above their respective recrystallization temperatures of 250° and 200°C.
1.2. Modelling pattern formation by continuum equations
Pattern formation on ion irradiated surfaces can be modelled my atomistic simulation methods, such as molecular dynamics (MD) and Monte-Carlo (kMC), or by continuum equations. Due to the large area and high fluences, MD and MC cannot cover the large dynamic range, however, they can provide valuable insight into defect generation and ion induced mass transport. Continuum equations on the other hand are coarse grain approximations, which can cover much larger spatial and temporal regimes. Information from MD or MC can furthermore be used as input for predictive modelling of new materials and irradiation conditions.
Keywords: ion beams, ion-surface interaction, nanopattering
Invited lecture (Conferences)
23rd International Workshop on Inelastic Ion-Surface Collisions, 17.-22.11.2019, Matsue, Japan