Single Ion Induced Spike Effects on Thin Metal Films: Observation and Simulation

S. E. Donnelly, R. C. Birtcher, K. Nordlund

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The combination of in situ electron microscopy with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations gives important insights into the processes occurring during ion-beam engineering of thin films. This chapter compares and contrasts experimental observations and MD simulations of individual heavy-ion impacts on metal films. These impacts result in the formation of craters and other surface features on metals and the ejection of nanoparticles. Images in the manuscript and video sequences on the accompanying CD-ROM illustrate the processes. The simulations of ion impacts match the experiment and give remarkable insight into the processes that give rise to the observed surface structures. Liquid flow and micro-explosions have been unequivocally identified in the MD work and provide an atomic-level understanding of the processes giving rise to cratering. An incomplete understanding exists of the emission of nanoclusters by ion impacts where the experimental size distribution of the emitted particles exhibits a powerlaw relationship, suggesting that this could be a shock-wave phenomenon. Although this is not, as yet, supported by the MD work, further simulations giving rise to improved statistics on nanocluster emission should enable a better comparison between experiment and simulation and thus serve to test this interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngineering Thin Films and Nanostructures with Ion Beams
EditorsEmile Knystautas
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages72
ISBN (Electronic)9781420028294
ISBN (Print)9780824724474, 082472447X
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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