Atomistic simulation of ion beam patterning with crater functions

Zhangcan Yang, Michael Lively, Jean Paul Allain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In this study, an atomistic model is developed to simulate ripple pattern formation when a surface is irradiated by incident low-energy energetic ions. The model treats individual ion impacts using crater functions, which represent the average change in the surface shape due to a single-ion impact. These functions incorporate the complete redistribution of mass along the surface due to an impact, and not just that due to sputtering. While most models only treat erosion, analysis of the craters reveals that the amount of mass redistributed across the surface is an order of magnitude greater than the mass removed by sputtering. Simulations in this study are conducted for 500 eV Ar+ bombardments of Si at angles of 0° to 60° with 5° increment at temperature of 350 K. Initial simulations with this model have shown agreement with prior observations of ripple pattern formation. However, some significant departures from other models based on the Bradley-Harper theory have emerged; the key difference is that the presence of crater rims plays a key role in ripple formation, which could explain phenomena such as maximum ripple amplitudes which most models do not account for. These results show that atomistic crater functions are a viable method for modeling ion beam patterning. They indicate that mass redistribution is a key mechanism for surface patterning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-193
Number of pages5
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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