Nanoscale surface structuring during ion bombardment of elemental semiconductors
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Nano-patterning of surfaces with uniform ion bombardment yields a rich phase-space of topographic patterns. Particle irradiation can cause surface ultra-smoothing or selforganized nanoscale pattern formation in surface topography. Topographic pattern formation has previously been attributed to the effects of the removal of target atoms by sputter erosion. In this thesis, the surface morphology evolution of Si(100) and Ge(100) during low energy ion bombardment of Ar+ and Kr+ ions, respectively, is studied. Our facilities for studies of surface processes at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) allow in-situ characterization of surface morphology evolution during ion bombardment using grazing incidence small angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS). This technique is used to measure in reciprocal space the kinetics of formation or decay of correlated nanostructures on the surface, effectively measuring the height-height correlations. A linear model is used to characterize the early time kinetic behavior during ion bombardment as a function of ion beam incidence angle. The curvature coefficients predicted by the widely used erosive model of Bradley and Harper are quantitatively negligible and of the wrong sign when compared to the observed effect in both Si and Ge. A mass-redistribution model explains the observed ultra-smoothing at low angles, exhibits an instability at higher angles, and predicts the observed 45° critical angle separating these two regimes in Si. The Ge surface evolution during Kr+ irradiation is qualitatively similar to that observed for Ar+ irradiation of Si at the same ion energy. However, the critical angle for Ge cannot be quantitatively reproduced by the simple mass redistribution model. Crater function theory, as developed by Norris et al., incorporates both mass redistributive and erosive effects, and predicts constraining relationships between curvature coefficients. These constraints are compared to experimental data of both Si and Ge. There is good agreement at low incidence angles; however, at higher angles the data disagrees with the predictions of the crater function formalism. This calls into question the ability of crater function theory to model the surface morphology evolution during ion bombardment.
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