Ion beams are being applied for surface modifications of materials in a variety of different ways: ion implantation, ion beam mixing, sputtering, and particle or cluster beam assisted deposition. Fundamental to all of these processes is the deposition of a large amount of energy, generally some keV, in a localized area. This can lead to the production of defects, atomic mixing, disordering and in some cases, amorphization. Recent results of molecular dynamics computer simulations of energetic displacement cascades in Cu and Ni with energies up to 5 keV suggest that thermal spikes play an important role in these processes. Specifically, it will be shown that many aspects of defect production, atomic mixing and cascade collapse can be understood as a consequence of local melting of the cascade core. Included in this discussion will be the possible role of electron-phonon coupling in thermal spike dynamics. The interaction of energetic clusters of atoms with solid surfaces has also been studied by molecular dynamics simulations. This process is of interest because a large amount of energy can be deposited in a small region and possibly without creating point defects in the substrate or implanting cluster atoms. The simulations reveal that the dynamics of the collision process are strongly dependent on cluster size and energy. Different regimes where defect production, local melting and plastic flow dominate will be discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics