Characterization of Single Ion Strikes using In-Situ Dynamic Transmission Electron Microscopy

Anthony Monterrosa, James Stewart, Patrick Price, Remi Dingreville, and Khalid Hattar

Sandia National Laboratories

Understanding the evolution of damage cascades caused by energetic particle strikes has proven difficult for experimental studies. Individual cascade events occur over an extremely limited spatial and temporal scale, which has left most of their exploration to modeling efforts. However, recent in-situ transmission electron microscopy developments have begun to close this gap, allowing for detailed experimental studies of damage cascades. In-situ and ex-situ irradiations were performed at the Sandia Ion Beam Laboratory with Au ions ranging from 46 keV to 1 MeV on single crystal silicon and in gold nanograin films to explore a wide range of cascade morphologies. The experimental results were coupled with a molecular dynamics (MD), which simulated the radiation damage events and provided the size, shape, and composition of the defect damage, along with virtual selected area electron diffraction (SAED) patterns. Information from a single damage cascade can be acquired through direct comparison between the experimental diffraction patterns and the virtual SAED patterns. Additionally, the coupling of the in-situ ion beam with a dynamic transmission electron microscope (DTEM) can provide the unique capability to experimentally probe the collapse of the damage cascade on a nanosecond timescale.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-NA0003525.