Open Journal of Microphysics, 2011, 1, 53-57
doi:10.4236/ojm.2011.13009 Published Online November 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJM
Role of Ion-Surface Interaction at the Entry Surface on the
Energy Loss of Highly Charged Slow Ions in Solids
Tapan Nandi
Inter-University Accelerator Center, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi, India
Received September 15, 2011; revised October 18, 2011; accepted October 28, 2011
Evidence is obtained from the data of an earlier measurement that the effect of ion-surface interaction on the
stopping power of highly charged slow ions is not at all tiny rather remarkably large, even it supersedes the
bulk stopping power. The stopping power due to the surface interactions is directly proportional to the charge
state of incident ions.
Keywords: Highly Charged Slow Ions, Charge Exchange, Surface Potential, Ion Energy Loss
1. Introduction
Energy dissipation of charged particles moving through
matter [1] has been of interest since the discovery of
charged particles. Long ago Ritchie [2] suggested with
the basis of surface plasmon theory that a fast electron
moving through a foil would lose its energy to both bulk
as well as surface. Nevertheless only recently, our expe-
riment [3] showed that stopping power of swift ions
through solids can also distinguish these two contri-
butions clearly. Surface stopping power is determined to
be only a two order of magnitude smaller than that of the
bulk stopping power of the 3.1 MeV/u vanadium ion
beam passing through a carbon foil. The surface stopping
power is due to the wake potential [4] originated from
the surface plasmon. In the past, Koyama et al. [5] re-
vealed existence of surface wakefield. They measured a
new line in energy spectra of electrons from Al surface
by various ions with 0.98 MeV/u ion energy. The elec-
tron line energy was larger than that of convoy electron
velocity (equal to the projectile ion velocity). Iitaka [6]
explained the shifting of convoy peak to a higher energy
by image potential of the incident ion. Image charge
interaction energies gained by the incident ions in front
of the surface is shown to vary with Q3/2; where Q =
charge state of the incident ion [7]. However, this energy
gain is a tiny part of the total energy loss. Further,
Schenkel et al. [8] experimentally observed that the
charge state dependent energy loss of slow ions in solids
was not explained with calculated values using the TRIM
code [9].
Nevertheless further progress has been made on the ex-
perimental side. A few years back Srivastava et al. [10]
experimentally observed the surface enhancement in the
stopping power of 1 MeV N+ beam on highly oriented
pyrolytic graphite. Recently Papaléo et al. [11] reported
direct evidence for a strong dependence of the surface
modification as a function of charge state of the incident
ions. It implies that energy deposition near the surface
varies with charge state. With these important evidences
we have taken an attempt to look for the origin of such
ion-surface phenomena. Underlying interaction leading
to energy loss is simply driven by Coulomb’s law and
hence the ion charge can play a decisive role. There are
direct experimental evidences [8,12] showing that higher
charge states of the slow incident ions have higher stop-
ping power in solids. This charge state dependence is
explained in terms of charge pre-equilibrium effects.
However, it has been experimentally shown that such
effects do not exist [13,14]. On the contrary, it has re-
cently been shown that the surface wakefield at the exit
surface rather plays an important role on the ions [3].
Such a field is not possible to exist for highly charged
slow ions as it originates from surface plasmons at the
exit side due to passage of swift ions with velocity grea-
ter than the Fermi velocity. In this report, we show that
some retarding force still exists due to ion-surface inter-
action that leads to the surface stopping power at the
entry surface.
2. Background
One can plan the energy loss measurements by ions with
fixed charge state and constant ion velocity through di-
fferent thicknesses of the foil as done in an earlier ex-
periment [12]. However, it is always a very difficult task
to measure foil thickness precisely. Therefore, one can
think of an energy loss experiment with different charge
states with fixed target foil and constant ion velocity.
Further, ions of lower velocity have long interaction time
with the Coulomb force. Hence, the highly charged slow
ions through very thin foil is the best choice to study the
surface field effects on the ions. Such an experiment
would be appropriate to know the role of charged states
on surface stopping power and was done about a decade
ago [8]. We would like to furnish experimental confir-
mation of the ion-surface effects on energy loss taking
results from this experiment [8]. Kinetic energy loss by
highly charged slow ions transmitting through thin car-
bon foils has been measured as a function of projectile
charge state from for oxygen to
gold ions. The initial kinetic energies, including relative
errors, were 35.5 (±0.2), 92.3 (±0.6), 197.7 (±1.0), 312.4
(±2), and 454.4 (±3) keV for 16O, 40Ar, 86Kr, 136Xe, and
197Au ions, respectively. Ion velocities were low and the
same for all the ions () (B
v = Bohr velocity).
Several (5) charge states were only used for Ar and Au
ions, which have got central attention in this study. Thin
carbon foils of 2 ± 0.5 μg/cm2 (10.4 nm) were used
throughout the experiments.
3. Results and Discussions
As mentioned above, no measurements were carried out
for the present study rather we made use of the earlier
experimental results [8]. Figure 1 shows the average
energy loss values of Ar and Au ions as a function of the
projectile charge state, q. The figure displays clearly that
the energy loss values vary considerably with the charge
states. However, TRIM code [9] does not take this pic-
ture into account, it calculates the energy loss for ions in
charge state equilibrium. Calculated energy loss value
for gold ions agreed reasonably well with the experi-
mental, average energy loss value for Au+33 (very far
from fully stripped ion). In contrast, the calculated value
for Argon ions agreed reasonably well with the average
energy loss value for Ar+18 (fully stripped ion). Thereby,
TRIM code is insufficient to represent the energy loss
data for slow ions in solid. We thus take an attempt to
analyze the data in a different way. One can notice in the
figure that the energy loss for q = 16, 17, and 18 for Ar
ions and q = 44, 51, 58, 64, and 69 for Au ions show a
linear dependence. In contrast, the energy loss for q = 7
and 13 for Ar ions (Figure 1(b)) and q = 33 for Au ions
(Figure 1(a)) exhibits different behavior. Energy loss for
these ions shoot up from the linear variation.
Different path ways of energy loss are ionization,
excitation, and electron capture processes for the present
Figure 1. Average energy loss of 2.3 keV/u (a) Au33,44,51,58,64,69 +
and (b) Ar7,13,16,17,18+ ions in a thin carbon foil (10.4 nm).
ion-target combination as quasi molecular promotion of
target electrons to the projectile ions are very unlikely to
occur for such asymmetric system [15]. Projectile ioni-
zation for high ionic states, that are lying on a straight
line in Figure 1, is not at all possible as , =
projectile ion velocity and i = velocity of the
shell (outer most) electron of the projectile ion. Electron
capture cross section (c
vv v
) from and 2 shells of
target atoms to low states of these projectile ions is
negligible at such a low velocities and is very high to
large values, as for example, 4.6 × 1012 cm2
from target shell to projectile shell and
2.3 × 1011 cm2 from target shell to
projectile shell for Au69+ [16]. However, such
Rydberg electrons cannot survive in the bulk of the foil
and thereby no electron capture can occur at all through
out the bulk of foil. Therefore, no target ionization is
possible by electron capture processes, however, target
ionization by direct ionization process will take place
equally by all the charge species. The contribution of
energy loss from direct ionization can be obtained from
= 1n
= 2n
= 1=n1
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ΔE intercept of the fitted straight line.
As mentioned already that surface wakefield gave rise
to energy loss at the surface [3] and the energy loss due
to surface wakefield varies with charge state. Further, we
discussed above that nearly neutral atoms emerge out
from the exit surface irrespective of the difference in
charge state at the incidence. Hence, energy loss depen-
dence with charge states is the outcome of some ion-
surface effects at the entry surface. Thus, the ion-surface
interaction and direct ionization are the two major me-
chanisms responsible for the energy loss for slow highly
charged ions exhibiting linear charge state dependence.
When the slow ions leave last layer at the exit surface
they can be neutralized by capturing electrons at the Ryd-
berg states keeping many inner shells empty. As a result,
these hollow neutral atoms will hardly be affected by any
electromagnetic interactions at the exit surface. Thus, the
observed surface effects must be acting only at the entry
surface. Present conclusion is in conformity with an earlier
experiment [13] using the 1H(19F,αγ)16O resonance re-
A linear dependence with an intercept as displayed in
Figure 1 represents the contributions coming from two
different processes. One comes from a retarding potential
due to ion-surface interactions and other from direct
ionization. While the former varies with the charge state
and the latter does not. For example, the contribution
from surface potential and the direct ionization are 49.9
keV and 17.4 keV for Au169+, respectively. Besides the
contribution from the above two mechanisms additional
contribution comes from some other process for the
charge states showing a departure from linear energy loss
processes. This contribution can be obtained by de-
ducting the contribution of the surface wakefield and the
direct ionization from the measured value. These values
are comparable to the ionization potential of the projec-
tile ions. Therefore, projectile electron loss process is res-
ponsible for this. This finding is in agreement with the
fact that equilibrium charge states depend on the initial
charge states. The equilibrium charge state for these pro-
jectile ions can be estimated by equating the sum of ioni-
zation potentials with the experimental energy loss con-
tribution due to projectile electron loss process. In case
of argon ions the contribution from surface potential and
the direct ionization are 7.7 and 1.5 keV for A18+, res-
pectively. For A1618+, no contribution comes from ioni-
zation of the projectile ions. However, a large contri-
bution comes from projectile ionization for A7,13+ ions;
4.4 keV for A7+ and 1.5 keV for A13+. Mean equilibrium
charge state within the foil estimated for Ar+7 and Ar+13
are 9.9 and 13.7, respectively. It is worth noting what-
ever the charge states inside the foil the ions at low
velocities will be neutralized at the exit. However, the
charge state fraction measurements far from the target
foil will show finite charge states due to multiple Auger-
transition cascades. Consequently, the average charge
state for Au69+ at an initial velocity of 0.43 vB was
measured about 1.3 ± 0.2 [17].
A remarkable fact is inferred in this work that at low
projectile energies, the surface-energy loss is higher than
the bulk energy loss. With the increase of projectile ener-
gies, the ion will not be neutralized at the exit surface.
This fact will result in various charge states of the pro-
jectile ion to emerge from the foil, each will then be
differently affected by the surface wakefield at the exit.
It will cause an uncertainty in the total energy loss
leading to energy loss straggling in solid. If the kinetic
energy of the incident ion does not reach to the equi-
librium charge state at the foil, the energy loss straggling
due to the surface wakefield at the exit surface will con-
tinue to vary with the foil thickness. Thinner the foil
lesser the bulk effect and higher the surface effects,
hence, contribution from the surface wakefield to the
energy loss straggling shows higher significance for the
ultra thin target [18]. Thus, the observed energy strag-
gling is a sum of the statistical fluctuation of energy loss
in the bulk and the energy loss distribution of different
charge states due to the wake potential at the exit surface.
For the relativistic heavy ions, the energy straggling is
divided into collisional straggling and charge-exchange
straggling. The latter depends critically on the different
charge states of out going ions [19]. Since, the charge
exchange cross section reduces faster with the ion
velocity (215
qv [16]) than the surface-stopping power
qv ), the energy straggling at surface will play an
important role even for the relativistic heavy ions. The
contribution from surface is expected to be much higher
than that from charge exchange processes.
Energy loss due to the surface potential at the entry
surface per unit charge for different ions at 2.3 keV/µ
through C-foil are 0.72 ± 0.11, 0.50 ± 0.14, and 0.06 ±
0.02 keV for Au+69-ions & Ar+18-ions [8], and protons or
antiprotons [20], respectively. Different incident ions
give rise to different field strength in the surface po-
tential. Such variation can be attributed to the difference
of ion-surface interaction where not only the charge state
plays a role but also the ion species take an important
role as dielectric properties vary with ion species. Mani-
festation of such property leads to Z1 oscillation [21].
We saw that ion-surface interaction results in large
surface stopping power for highly charged slow ions. At
the entry surface image charge effects and charge ex-
change processes are the two phenomena known to us.
Both are charge state dependent where the former leads
to acceleration to the ions and the latter retardation to the
ions. Since the net effect is the slowing down, retarding
force ought to be larger. Hence, the charge exchange
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJM
processes give rise to a surface potential at the entry sur-
face through which ions loose energy as a function of the
charge state. This fact is another interesting point in the
energy loss of highly charged slow ions in addition to the
fact as reported very recently that the unitary-convolu-
tion-approximation energy-loss theory explain experi-
mental data well for high to intermediate energies, how-
ever, significant deviations occur at low energies [22].
4. Conclusions
We have established that the surface stopping power is
directly proportional to the charge state of the ion.
Recently, Grüner et al. [23] theoretically suggested that
the bulk energy loss depends on the charge state due to
the charge exchange processes. Interestingly, the charge
exchange takes a role in generating a potential as well at
the entry surface. The stopping power due to the surface
potential varies directly with the charge state. Further,
charge state dependent surface energy loss is more pro-
minent than the charge state dependent bulk energy loss
for highly charged slow ions. We strongly believe that
the energy loss mechanism of highly charged slow ions
in solids can be understood better by including a suitable
surface potential with the existing theories. The renewed
mechanism will help us to understand numerous appli-
cations such as, thin-film growth, sputtering, plasma wall
interaction in fusion devices, soft-landing, space shuttle
glow, detectors, etc.
5. Acknowledgements
The author thanks Dinesh Shukla for his technical help
during this work and T. Schenkel, S. A. Khan, P. Kumar
for their comments on the manuscript.
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