Molecular dynamics simulation of Coulomb explosion, melting and shock wave creation in silicon after an ionization pulse Academic Article uri icon


  • Strong electronic stopping power of swift ions in a semiconducting or insulating substrate can lead to localized electron stripping. The subsequent repulsive interactions among charged target atoms can cause Coulomb explosion. Using molecular dynamics simulation, we simulate Coulomb explosion in silicon by introducing an ionization pulse lasting for different periods, and at different substrate temperatures. We find that the longer the pulse period, the larger the melting radius. The observation can be explained by a critical energy density model assuming that melting required thermal energy density is a constant value and the total thermal energy gained from Coulomb explosion is linearly proportional to the ionization period. Our studies also show that melting radius is larger at higher substrate temperatures. The temperature effect is explained due to a longer structural relaxation above the melting temperature at original ionization boundary due to lower heat dissipation rates. Furthermore, simulations show the formation of shock waves, created due to the compression from the melting core. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, Z., Chen, D. i., Wang, J., & Shao, L.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • April 2014