Fractal analysis of collision cascades in pulsed-ion-beam-irradiated solids
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The buildup of radiation damage in ion-irradiated crystals often depends on the spatial distribution of atomic displacements within collision cascades. Although collision cascades have previously been described as fractals, the correlation of their fractal parameters with experimental observations of radiation damage buildup remains elusive. Here, we use a pulsed-ion-beam method to study defect interaction dynamics in 3C-SiC irradiated at 100 °C with ions of different masses. These data, together with results of previous studies of SiC and Si, are analyzed with a model of radiation damage formation which accounts for the fractal nature of collision cascades. Our emphasis is on the extraction of the effective defect diffusion length from pulsed beam measurements. Results show that, for both Si and SiC, collision cascades are mass fractals with fractal dimensions in the range of ~1-2, depending on ion mass, energy, and the depth from the sample surface. Within our fractal model, the effective defect diffusion length is ~10 nm for SiC and ~20 nm for Si, and it decreases with increasing cascade density. These results demonstrate a general method by which the fractal nature of collision cascades can be used to explain experimental observations and predict material's response to radiation.
author list (cited authors)
Wallace, J. B., Aji, L., Shao, L., & Kucheyev, S. O.