Physical basis of energy per cluster atom in the universal concept of sputtering

Robert J. Paruch, Zbigniew Postawa, Barbara J. Garrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The interpretation of the variables, scaled by the number of projectile cluster atoms n, in the universal relation of the sputtering yield Y versus incident energy E, that is, Y/n vs E/n, is not necessarily obvious. Following on previous works, the objective of this study is to elucidate the physical basis of the energy per atom variable E/n. The authors employ molecular dynamics simulations of Arn cluster bombardment of Ag(111) metal samples for this study. The authors find that the energy per cluster atom quantity E/n is responsible for the fraction of the initial energy that is deposited in the solid, rather than energy per cluster mass E/m. The results show that even though there is an average loss of the energy for a cluster, each cluster atom loses a different fraction of its initial energy, thus yielding a distribution of energy loss by individual atoms. The analysis of these distributions indicates that the energy deposition process is more effective for clusters with higher E/n when compared to the clusters with lower E/n. This conclusion is supported by a visual analysis of the cluster bombardment event. The cluster atoms that lose most of their initial energy are those which split off from the cluster and penetrate into the bulk of the solid. Conversely, the atoms of the clusters with low E/n keep together during the interaction with the solid, and eventually reflect into the vacuum taking away a portion of the initial kinetic energy. In addition, the simulations indicate that the clusters of different sizes have the same distribution of energy loss for individual atoms if they have the same E/n, in other words, if the initial energy E is proportional to the cluster size n.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number03H105
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology B: Nanotechnology and Microelectronics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry

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