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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Jan 1;86(1):99-102.

Ion Beam "Photography": Decoupling Nucleation and Growth of Metal Clusters in Glass.

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  • 1Centre de Spectrométrie Nucléaire et de Spectrométrie de Masse, 91405-Orsay, France and Laboratoire CNRS/Saint-Gobain, 93303-Aubervilliers, France.


We demonstrate that room temperature MeV ion irradiation of a glass containing copper oxide initiates nucleation of pure Cu clusters via the inelastic "electronic" component of the ion energy loss, when the latter is above a threshold value. The clusters grow under subsequent thermal annealing, following Lifshitz-Slyozov-Wagner kinetics. The decoupling of nucleation and growth is analogous to that occurring in the photographic process. It allows total control over the cluster density, average size, and size distribution.

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