Ion-induced surface diffusion in ion sputtering

Ion bombardment is known to enhance surface diffusion and affect the surface morphology. Here we demonstrate that preferential erosion during ion sputtering can lead to a physical phenomenon reminiscent of surface diffusion, what we call effective surface diffusion ~ESD!, that does not imply mass transport along the surface and is independent of the temperature. We calculate the ion-induced ESD constant and its dependence on the ion energy, flux and angle of incidence, showing that sputtering can both enhance and suppress surface diffusion. The influence of ion-induced ESD on ripple formation and roughening of ion-sputtered surfaces is discussed and summarized in a morphological phase diagram.


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