Scanning Microscopy


The present paper provides a brief overview of our current understanding of physical sputtering by charged-particle impact, with the emphasis on sputtering of metals and alloys under bombardment with particles that produce knock-on collisions. Fundamental aspects of ion-solid interactions, and recent developments in the study of sputtering of elemental targets and preferential sputtering in multicomponent materials are reviewed. We concentrate only on a few specific topics of sputter emission, including the various properties of the sputtered flux and depth of origin, and on connections between sputtering and other radiation-induced and -enhanced phenomena that modify the near-surface composition of the target. The synergistic effects of these diverse processes in changing the composition of the integrated sputtered-atom flux is described in simple physical terms, using selected examples of recent important progress.

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