Role of knock-on in electron beam induced etching of diamond

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Journal Article
Carbon, 2020, 164 pp. 51 - 58
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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Electron beam induced etching (EBIE) has recently emerged as a promising direct-write nanofabrication technique. EBIE is typically assumed to proceed entirely through chemical pathways driven by electron-electron interactions. Here we show that knock-on (i.e., momentum transfer from electrons to nuclei) can play a significant role in EBIE, even at electron beam energies as low as 1.5 keV. Specifically, we calculate knock-on cross-sections for H, D, O and CO on the surface of diamond and show experimentally that they affect the kinetics of EBIE performed using oxygen, hydrogen and deuterium etch precursors. Our results advance basic understanding of electron-adsorbate interactions, particularly in relation to EBIE and the related techniques of electron beam-induced deposition and surface functionalisation.
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