Deterministic Role of Collision Cascade Density in Radiation Defect Dynamics in Si.
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The formation of stable radiation damage in solids often proceeds via complex dynamic annealing (DA) processes, involving point defect migration and interaction. The dependence of DA on irradiation conditions remains poorly understood even for Si. Here, we use a pulsed ion beam method to study defect interaction dynamics in Si bombarded in the temperature range from -30C to 210C with ions in a wide range of masses, from Ne to Xe, creating collision cascades with different densities. We demonstrate that the complexity of the influence of irradiation conditions on defect dynamics can be reduced to a deterministic effect of a single parameter, the average cascade density, calculated by taking into account the fractal nature of collision cascades. For each ion species, the DA rate exhibits two well-defined Arrhenius regions where different DA mechanisms dominate. These two regions intersect at a critical temperature, which depends linearly on the cascade density. The low-temperature DA regime is characterized by an activation energy of 0.1eV, independent of the cascade density. The high-temperature regime, however, exhibits a change in the dominant DA process for cascade densities above 0.04 at.%, evidenced by an increase in the activation energy. These results clearly demonstrate a crucial role of the collision cascade density and can be used to predict radiation defect dynamics in Si.