Atomic Force Microscopy Imaging of Single Ion Impacts on Mica

  • D. C. Parks
  • R. Bastasz
  • R. W. Schmieder
  • M. Stöckli


The electron affinity and potential energy that is associated with highly charged ions may be used to create nanometer scale damage sites on the surface of insulating materials. We have used atomic force microscopy to image the surface damage caused by single ion impacts. Freshly cleaved mica was irradiated by low energy Xe44+ ions at normal incidence. Impact sites are typically circular protrusions 20 nm in diameter and 0.3 nm in height. Lateral force microscopy shows the damage sites to have increased friction relative to the surrounding undisturbed crystal.


Graphite Surface Damage Site Contact Mode Atomic Force Microscope Lateral Force Microscopy Mode Atomic Force Microscope Image 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    E. S. Parilis, L. M. Kishinevsky, N. Yu. Turacv, B. E. Baklitzky, F. F. Umarov, V. K.Verleger, S. L. Nizhnaya, and 1. S. Bitensky, Atomic Collisions on Solid Surfaces, North Holland, Amsterdam, 539 (1993).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    R. M. Feenstra and G. S. Oehrlein, Surface morphology of oxidized and ion-etched silicon by scanning tunneling microscopy, App/. Phys. Lett. 47: 97–99 (1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. A. Eklund, R. Bruinsma, J. Rudnick, and R. S. Williams, Submicron-scale surface roughening induced by ion bombardment, Phys. Rev. Lett. 67: 1759–1762 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    H. Feil, H. J. W. Anadtliet, M.-H. Tsai, J. D. Dow and 1. S. T. Tsong, Random and ordered defects on ion-bombarded Si(100)-(2x1) surfaces, Phys. Rev. Lett. 69: 3076–3079 (1992).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    I. H. Wilson, N. J. Zheng, U. Knipping, and L S. T. Tsong, Scanning tunneling microscopy of ion impacts on semiconductor surfaces, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 7: 2840–2844 (1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    L. Porte, C. H. de Villeneuve and M. Phaner, Scanning tunneling microscopy observation of local damages induced on graphite surfaces by ion implantation, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 9: 1064–1067 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    R. Coratger, A. Claverie, F. Ajustron, and J. Beauvillian, Scanning tunneling microscopy of detects induced by carbon bombardment on graphite surfaces, Surface Science 227: 7–14 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    G. M. Shedd and P. E. Russell, The effects of low-energy ion impacts on graphite observed by scanning tunneling microscopy, J. Vac. Sci. Technol A 9: 1261–1264 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    R. Coratger, A. Claverie, A. Chahboun, V. Landry, F. Ajustron, and J. Beauvillian, Effects of ion mass and energy on the damage induced by an ion beam on graphite surfaces: a scanning tunneling microscopy study, SurfaceScience 262: 208–218 (1992).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    S. Bouflàrd, J. Cousty, Y. Pennec, and F. Thilbaudau, STM and AFM observations of latent tracks, Radiat. Eff. and Defects in Solids 126: 225–228 (1993).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    D. Snowden-Ifft, P. B. Price, L. A. Nagahara, and A. Fujishima, Atomic-force-microscopic observations of dissolution of mica at sites penetrated by keV/nucleon ions, Phys. Rev. Lett. 70: 2348–2351 (1993).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    F. Thibaudau, J. Cousty, E. Balanzat, and S. Bouffard, Atomic-three-microscopy observations of tracks induced by swift Kr ions in mica, Phys. Rev. Lett. 67: 1582–1585 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Digital Instruments, Santa Barbara, CAGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    T. Hagen, J. Ackerman, N. Angell, S. Grafstrom, M. Neitzert, R. Neumann, C. Trautmann and J. Vetter, Friction studies of heavy-ion irradiated mica on a sub-µni scale using a scanning force microscope, OSI Scientific Report 1992, 303 (1992).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. Parks
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Bastasz
    • 3
  • R. W. Schmieder
  • M. Stöckli
    • 1
  1. 1.Macdonald LaboratoryKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.National Insititute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA
  3. 3.Sandia National LaboratoriesLivermoreUSA

Personalised recommendations