Observation of a threshold in potential sputtering of LiF surfaces

G. Hayderer, C. Lemell, L. Wirtz, M. Schmid, J. Burgdörfer, P. Varga, HP. Winter, and F. Aumayr


A quartz-crystal microbalance technique is used for measuring total sputtering yields for LiF under impact of slow (20 eV, 100 eV, 500 eV and 1000 eV kinetic energy) singly and doubly charged ions. At low kinetic energies (less than or equal to 100 eV) potential sputtering (PS) (i.e., sputtering due to the projectiles potential energy) clearly dominates over kinetically induced sputtering. New insight into the mechanisms for PS is gained by determining the minimum potential energy necessary to induce PS. The measured potential energy threshold at around 10 eV provides evidence that PS can already be induced by the production of cold holes in the valence band of LiF via resonant neutralisation.