Sputterring and smoothing of metal surface with energetic gas cluster beams

Z. Insepov, I. Yamada, M. Sosnowski

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37 Scopus citations


Sputtering is a process of surface erosion by energetic ions. One of the remarkable effects of sputtering with cluster ions is surface smoothing. To understand its mechanism we have developed a computational model, which utilizes molecular dynamics (MD) to simulate rapid atomic collisions in the central impact zone, and a finite-difference method to account for processes occurring on a longer time scale over a wider target area. A case of gas cluster of a few hundred Ar atoms impacting a Cu target with energy up to 20 keV has been considered. The MD simulation has revealed that the atoms ejected from the surface have a significant lateral momentum component (parallel to the surface) which may have a major effect on surface morphology. Evolution of surface morphology under cluster ion irradiation was described by the modified Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation. Comparison of the simulations with experimental data shows qualitative agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-237
Number of pages4
JournalMaterials Chemistry and Physics
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jul 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • Cluster ions
  • Impact
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Surface morphology


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