A grant proposal from Mark Bradley of Colorado State University and Karl Ludwig of Boston University submitted to the National Science Foundation has just been selected for funding. The sponsored research will be a joint theoretical and experimental investigation of nanoscale patterns produced by ion bombardment of solid surfaces. The grant is a three-year collaborative research grant from the Division of Materials Research.
When a solid surface is bombarded with a broad ion beam, self-assembled patterns with length scales as short as 10 nanometers can emerge, including surface ripples and hexagonal arrays of mounds. If the patterns formed were not almost always disordered, ion bombardment could become a widely employed method of fabricating nanostructures. The central goal of the funded research will therefore be to develop and refine methods of producing highly ordered surface ripples by ion bombardment.