Molecular dynamics simulations elucidate the synergy of C60 and low-energy Ar cobombardment for molecular depth profiling

Zachary J. Schiffer, Paul E. Kennedy, Zbigniew Postawa, Barbara Jane Garrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The use of cluster beams in secondary ion mass spectrometry enables molecular depth profiling, a technique that is essential to many fields. The success of the technique often hinges upon the chemical nature of the substrate, the kinetic energy and incident angle of the primary cluster ion beam, and the sample temperature. It has been shown experimentally that the quality of depth profiles can be improved with cobombardment by a C60 cluster beam and a low-energy argon (Ar) beam. We present molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the mechanistic reasons for the improved molecular depth profiles with an aim of understanding whether this cobombardment approach is generally applicable. We conclude that the low-energy Ar beam breaks up the surface topology created by the C60 beam, increasing the sputtering yield and reducing the buildup of chemical damage. The simulations also suggest that an equivalent result could be achieved without the Ar cobombardment by optimizing the conditions of the C60 beam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2635-2638
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 20 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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