The effect of ion implantation on reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy: The case of Au implanted Al films

H. Trombini*, M. Vos, G. G. Marmitt, B. P. E. Tee, F. F. Selau, A. M. H. de Andrade, P. L. Grande

*Corresponding author for this work

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Gold-implanted aluminum films are used to investigate how reflection electron energy loss spectra (REELS) change due to the presence of a small concentration of heavy atoms at a specific depth. Au ions were implanted with 30, 100 and 300 keV energy. REELS spectra were taken at energies between 10 and 40 keV. Large changes in the REELS spectra are observed after Au implantation, but the nature of the change indicates that they are not due to modification of the dielectric function of the implanted layer, but should be interpreted as changes in the partial intensities that make up the spectrum. Two models are used to describe the results quantitatively. One method assumes v-shaped trajectories (i.e. only a single elastic deflection) and the REELS spectrum can then be calculated in a closed form. The other method is a Monte-Carlo based simulation which allows for multiple elastic deflections. Both methods describe the experimental spectra quite well, but at larger energy losses significant deviations occur between the measured and calculated intensity for both the implanted and not-implanted films. The difference in the REELS spectrum before and after implantation is less affected by these discrepancies, and can be used to obtain an estimate of both the depth and concentration of the implanted Au atoms. Due to the presence of sharp plasmon features in the energy loss spectrum of aluminum the experiment can tell us directly which partial intensities are affected by the Au impurities, as the recoil energies due to elastic scattering make it possible to identify the contribution of Au to the first few plasmons. As the Au implantation fluence is known the measurement can be used to determine the ratio of the Au and Al elastic scattering cross sections, which deviates strongly from that calculated from the Rutherford formula.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146935
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy
  • Ion implantation
  • Electron transport in matter

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