Donnelly, S. E. and Birtcher, R. C. (1999) Ion-induced spike effects on metal surfaces. Philosophical Magazine A, 79 (1). pp. 133-145. ISSN 0141-8610

The effects of single Xe ion impacts on the surfaces of Au, Ag, In and Pb have been studied using in-situ transmission electron microscopy. Individual ion impacts produce surface craters with associated expelled material. The cratering efficiency scales with the density of the irradiated metal. Calculation indicates that, when collision cascades occur near surfaces (within about 5 nm) with energy densities sufficient to cause local melting, craters will occur. Crater formation occurs as a result of the explosive outflow of material from the hot molten core of the cascade. This would appear to indicate that, although the number of atoms in a spike is small and its duration short, it is reasonable to use macroscopic concepts such as vibrational temperature, melting and flow to describe spike effects.

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