Ion Beam Mixing

Ion Beam Mixing

Ion Beam Mixing is a process for adhering two multilayers, especially a substrate and deposited surface layer. The process involves bombarding layered samples with doses of ion radiation in order to promote mixing at the interface, and generally serves as a means of preparing electrical junctions, especially between non-equilibrium or metastable alloys and intermetallic compounds.


The unique effects that stem from ion beam mixing are primarily a result of ballistic effects; that is, impinging ions have high kinetic energies that are transferred to target atoms on collision. Ion energies can be seen on the order of 1 keV to 200 keV. When accelerated, such ion energies are sufficiently high to break intra- and especially inter-molecular bonds, and initiate relocations within an atomic lattice. During this ballistic process, energies of impinging ions displace atoms and electrons of the target material several lattice sites away, resulting in relocations there and interface mixing at the boundary layer. (Note that energies must be sufficiently high in order for the lattice rearrangements to be permanent rather than manifesting as mere vibrational responses to the impinging radiation.) If energies are kept sufficiently high in these nuclear collisions, then, compared to traditional high-dose implantation processes, ballistic ion implantation produces higher intrafilm alloy concentrations at lower doses of irradiation compared to conventional implantation processes.iiiouii


There are some important relationships to note concerning ion beam mixing of films. First, the degree of mixing of a film scales with the ion mass, with the intensity of any given incident ion beam, and with the amount of time the ion beam is left to impinge on a target. The amount of mixing is proportional to the square roots of time, mass and ion dose. At temperatures below 100 °C for most implanted materials, ion beam mixing is essentially temperature independent, but, as temperature increases beyond that point, mixing rises exponentially with temperature. This temperature dependence is a manifestation of incident ion beams effectively imparting the target species dependent activation energy to the barrier layer.cite conference
first = Michael
last = Nastasi
title = Ion Beam Mixing
booktitle = Radiation Effects in Solids
publisher = Los Alamos National Laboratory Materials Science and Technology Division
date = 17–29 July 2004
location = Erice, Sicily, Italy
url =
accessdate = 2007-05-02 |format=PDF

Ballistic ion beam mixing can be classified into two basic sub types, recoil mixing and cascade mixing, which happen simultaneously as a result of ion bombardment. In recoil mixing, atoms are relocated by single collision events. Recoil mixing is predominately seen at large angles as a result of soft collisions, with the number of atoms undergoing recoil implantation varying linearly with ion dose. Recoil implantation, however, is not the dominant process in ion beam mixing. Most relocated atoms are part of a collisional cascade in which recoiled atoms vibrate, initiating a series of lower energy lattice displacements, which is referred to as cascade mixing.

Ion mixing (IM) is essentially similar in result to interdiffusion, and hence most models of ion mixing involve an effective diffusion coefficient that is used to characterize thickness of the reacted layer as a function of ion beam implantation over a period of time.

The diffusion model, though, doesn’t take into account the miscibility of substrate and layer, so for immiscible or low miscibility systems it will overestimate the degree of mixing, while for highly miscible systems, the model will underestimate the degree of mixing. Thermodynamic effects are also not considered in this basic interdiffusion equation, but can be modeled by equations that consider the enthalpies of mixing and the molar fractions of the target species and one can thereby develop a thermodynamic effective diffusion coefficient reflecting temperature effects (which become pronounced at high temperatures).i9o08p79- [

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of ion beam mixing as a means of synthesis over traditional modes of implantation include the process' ability to produce materials with high solute concentrations using lower amounts of irradiation, and better control of band gap variation and diffusion between layers. [cite journal
last = Abedrabbo
first = S.
coauthors = Arafah, D.E., Gokce, O., Wielunski, L.S., et al
title = Ion Beam Mixing for Processing of Nanostructure Materials
journal =Journal of Electronic Materials
date = May 2006
url =
accessdate = 2007-05-02
] IM is also less cost-prohibitive than other modes of film preparation on substrates, such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE).

Disadvantages include the inability to completely direct and control lattice displacements initiated in the process, which can result in an undesirable degree of disorder in ion mixed samples, rendering them unsuitable for applications in which precise lattice orderings are paramount. Ion beams can not be perfectly directed nor the collision cascade controlled once IM effects propagate, which can result in leaking, electron diffraction, radiation enhanced diffusion (RED), chemical migration and mismatch. [cite journal
last = Abedrabbo
first = Sufian
authorlink =
coauthors = Arafah, D.E., Salem, S.
title = Ion Beam Mixing of Silicon-Germanium Thin Films
journal = Journal of Electronic Materials
date = May 2005
url =
accessdate = 2007-05-02
] Additionally, all ion mixed samples must be annealed.

ee also

*List of coating techniques


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External links

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