We have investigated, using molecular dynamics techniques, the sputtering yield enhancement of amorphous silicon produced by argon ion accumulation within the target. Several amorphous silicon samples, with different argon contents, were bombarded with 1 keV argon ions at normal incidence. To study the influence of the target structure, we considered samples with different argon arrangements, either uniformly distributed or within solid bubbles. We have observed that siliconsputtering yield increases linearly with dose until steady state conditions are reached. This enhancement is produced by the shallow argon atoms through the weakening of Si–Si bonds. We have also observed that argon release takes place even long after the end of the collisional phase, and it is produced by ion-induced desorption and bubble destabilization. This enhanced argon yield determines the dose where target saturation and steady state conditions are reached.
PDF: Dose effects on amorphous silicon sputtering by argon ions: A molecular dynamics simulation