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Self-organized chains of nanodots induced by an off-normal incident beam

Seungjun Lee1, Lumin Wang2 and Wei Lu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

2 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:432  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-432

Published: 17 June 2011


We propose a model to show that under off-normal bombardment of an incident ion beam, a solid surface may spontaneously form nanoscale dots lining up into chains perpendicular to the incident beam direction. These dots demonstrate a highly ordered hexagonal pattern. We attribute the self-organization behavior to surface instability under concurrent surface kinetics and to a shadow effect that causes the self-alignment of dots. The fundamental mechanism may be applicable to diverse systems, suggesting an effective approach for nanofabrication.