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Electronic energy loss and ion velocity correlation effects in track production in swift-ion-irradiated LiNbO3: A quantitativ...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of Materials Science & Technology
Publication Date
Page Numbers
30 to 40

The primary motivation for studying how irradiation modifies the structures and properties of solid materials involves the understanding of undesirable phenomena, including irradiation-induced degradation of components in nuclear reactors and space exploration, and beneficial applications, including material performance tailoring through ion beam modification and defect engineering. In this work, the formation mechanism of latent tracks with different damage morphologies in LiNbO3 crystals under 0.09–6.17 MeV/u ion irradiation with an electronic energy loss from 2.6–13.2 keV/nm is analyzed by experimental characterizations and numerical calculations. Irradiation-induced damage is preliminarily evaluated via the prism coupling technique to analyze the correlation between the dark-mode spectra and energy loss profiles of irradiated regions. Under the irradiation conditions of different ion velocities and electronic energy losses, different damage morphologies, from individual spherical defects to discontinuous and continuous tracks, are experimentally characterized. During ion penetration process, the ion velocity determines the spatiotemporal distribution of deposited irradiation energy induced by electronic energy loss, meaning that the two essential factors including electronic energy loss and ion velocity co-affect the track damage. The inelastic thermal spike model is used to numerically calculate the spatiotemporal evolutions of energy deposition and the corresponding atomic temperature under different irradiation conditions, and a quantitative relationship is proposed by comparison with corresponding experimentally observed track damage morphologies. The obtained quantitative relationship between irradiation conditions and track damage provides deep insight and guidance for understanding the damage behavior of crystal materials in extreme radiation environments and selecting irradiation parameters, including ion species and energies, for ion beam technique application in atomic-level defect manipulation, material modification, and micro/nanofabrication.