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Inverse Ostwald Ripening and Self-Organization of Nanoclusters due to Ion Irradiation

  • K.-H. Heinig (a1), B. Schmidt (a1), M. Strobel (a2) and H. Bernas (a3)


Under ion irradiation collisional mixing competes with phase separation if the irradiated solid consists of immiscible components. If a component is a chemical compound, there is another competition between the collisional forced chemical dissociation of the compound and its thermally activated re-formation. Especially at interfaces between immiscible components, irradiation processes far from thermodynamical equilibrium may lead to new phenomena. If the formation of nanoclusters (NCs) occurs during ion implantation, the phase separation caused by ion implantation induced supersaturation can be superimposed by phenomena caused by collisional mixing. In this contribution it will be studied how collisional mixing during high-fluence ion implantation affects NC synthesis and how ion irradiation through a layer of NCs modifies their size and size distribution. Inverse Ostwald ripening of NCs will be predicted theoretically and by kinetic lattice Monte-Carlo simulations. The mathematical treatment of the competition between irradiation-induced detachment of atoms from clusters and their thermally activated diffusion leads to a Gibbs-Thomson relation with modified parameters. The predictions have been confirmed by experimental studies of the evolution of Au NCs in SiO2 irradiated by MeV ions. The unusual behavior results from an effective negative capillary length, which will be shown to be the reason for inverse Ostwald ripening. Another new phenomenon to be addressed is self-organization of NCs in a δ-layer parallel to the Si/SiO2 interface. Such δ-layers were found when the damage level at the interface was of the order of 1-3 dpa. It will be discussed that the origin of the δ-layer of NCs can be assigned to two different mechanisms: (i) The negative interface energy due to collisional mixing gives rise to the formation of tiny clusters of substrate material in front of the interface, which promotes heteronucleation of the implanted impurities. (ii) Collisional mixing in the SiO2produces diffusing oxygen, which may be consumed by the Si/SiO2 interface. A thin layer parallel to the interface becomes denuded of diffusing oxygen, which results in a strong pile up of Si excess. This Si excess promotes heteronucleation too. Independent of the dominating mechanism of self-organization of a d-layer of NCs, its location in SiO2 close to the SiO2/Si interface makes it interesting for non-volatile memory application.



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Inverse Ostwald Ripening and Self-Organization of Nanoclusters due to Ion Irradiation

  • K.-H. Heinig (a1), B. Schmidt (a1), M. Strobel (a2) and H. Bernas (a3)


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