Energy loss of H+ and H2+ beams in carbon nanotubes: a joint experimental and simulation study

  • Jorge E. Valdés
  • Carlos Celedón
  • Mario Mery
  • Juan D. Uribe
  • Rodrigo Segura
  • Néstor R. Arista
  • Isabel Abril
  • Rafael Garcia-MolinaEmail author
Regular Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Issue: Dynamics of Systems on the Nanoscale (2018)


Carbon nanotube properties can be modified by ion irradiation; therefore it is important to know the manner in which ions deposit energy (how much and where) in the nanotubes. In this work, we have studied, experimentally and with a simulation code, the irradiation of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), supported on a holey amorphous carbon (a-C) substrate, with low energy (2–10 keV/u) H+ and H2+ molecular beams, impinging perpendicularly to the MWCNT axis. The energy distribution of protons traversing the nanotubes (either from the H+ beam or dissociated from the H2+ beam) was measured by the transmission technique in the forward direction. Two well-differentiated peaks appear in the experimental energy-loss distribution of the fragments dissociated from the molecular H2+ beam, in correspondence to the ones detected with the proton beam. One is the low-energy loss peak (LELP), which has a symmetric width; the other is the high-energy loss peak (HELP), which shows an asymmetric broadening towards larger energy loss than the corresponding proton energy distribution. A semi-classical simulation, accounting for the main interaction processes (both elastic and inelastic), of the proton trajectories through the nanotube and the supporting substrate has been done, in order to elucidate the origin of these structures in the energy spectra. Regarding the H+ energy spectrum, the LELP corresponds to projectiles that travel in quasi-channelling motion through the most outer walls of the nanotubes and then pass through the substrate holes, whereas the HELP results mostly from projectiles traversing only the a-C substrate, with the asymmetry broadening being due to a minor contribution of those protons that cross the a-C substrate after exiting the nanotube. The broadening of the peaks corresponding to dissociated fragments, with respect to that of the isolated protons, is the result of vicinage effects between the fragments, when travelling in quasi-channelling conditions through the outer layers of the nanotube, and Coulomb explosion just after exiting the target. The excellent agreement between the measured and the simulated energy spectra of the H+ beam validates our simulation code in order to predict the energy deposited by ion beams in carbon nanotubes.

Graphical abstract


Topical issue 


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences / Società Italiana di Fisica / Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Física – Laboratorio de Colisiones Atómicas, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa MaríaValparaísoChile
  2. 2.Center for the Development of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Centro Basal CEDENNASantiagoChile
  3. 3.Instituto de Química y Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de ValparaísoValparaísoChile
  4. 4.Centro Atómico Bariloche, División Colisiones AtómicasS.C. de BarilocheArgentina
  5. 5.Departament de Física Aplicada, Universitat d’AlacantAlacantSpain
  6. 6.Departamento de Física – Centro de Investigación en Óptica y Nanofísica, Regional Campus of International Excellence “Campus Mare Nostrum”, Universidad de MurciaMurciaSpain
  7. 7.Donostia International Physics Center DIPCSan SebastiánSpain
  8. 8.Centro Científico Tecnológico de Valparaíso – CCTVal, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa MaríaValparaísoChile

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