Roughening of ion-eroded surfaces

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World Scientific
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Recent experimental studies focusing on the morphological properties of surfaces eroded by ion-bombardment report the observation of self-affine fractal surfaces, while others provide evidence about the development of a periodic ripple structure. To explain these discrepancies we derive a stochastic growth equation that describes the evolution of surfaces eroded by ion bombardment. The coefficients appearing in the equation can be calculated explicitly in terms of the physical parameters characterizing the sputtering process. Exploring the connection between the ion-sputtering problem and the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang and Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equations, we find that morphological transitions may take place when experimental parameters, such as the angle of incidence of the incoming ions or their average penetration depth, are varied. Furthermore, the discussed methods allow us to calculate analytically the ion-induced surface diffusion coefficient, that can be compared with experiments. Finally, we use numerical simulations of a one dimensional sputtering model to investigate certain aspects of the ripple formation and roughening.
20 pages, 5 figures.-- Contributed to: 4th CTP Workshop on Statistical Physics "Dynamics of Fluctuating Interfaces and Related Phenomena" (Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Jan 27-31, 1997).
Statistical Mechanics, Interface dynamics
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D. Kim, H. Park, B. Kahng (eds), Dynamics of fluctuating interfaces and related phenomena: proceedings of the Fourth CTP Workshop on Statistical Physics