Ion beam nanopatterning of III-V semiconductors: Consistency of experimental and simulation trends within a chemistry-driven theory

O. El-Atwani, S. A. Norris, K. Ludwig, S. Gonderman, J. P. Allain

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Several proposed mechanisms and theoretical models exist concerning nanostructure evolution on III-V semiconductors (particularly GaSb) via ion beam irradiation. However, making quantitative contact between experiment on the one hand and model-parameter dependent predictions from different theories on the other is usually difficult. In this study, we take a different approach and provide an experimental investigation with a range of targets (GaSb, GaAs, GaP) and ion species (Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe) to determine new parametric trends regarding nanostructure evolution. Concurrently, atomistic simulations using binary collision approximation over the same ion/target combinations were performed to determine parametric trends on several quantities related to existing model. A comparison of experimental and numerical trends reveals that the two are broadly consistent under the assumption that instabilities are driven by chemical instability based on phase separation. Furthermore, the atomistic simulations and a survey of material thermodynamic properties suggest that a plausible microscopic mechanism for this process is an ion-enhanced mobility associated with energy deposition by collision cascades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18207
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 16 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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