Nucleation of gold nanoclusters in PMMA during energetic plasma deposition: A molecular dynamics and tfMC-Monte Carlo study

FS Teixeira and MC Salvadori, PHYSICA E-LOW-DIMENSIONAL SYSTEMS & NANOSTRUCTURES, 112, 19-25 (2019).

DOI: 10.1016/j.physe.2019.03.026

We have explored the nucleation of gold nanoclusters in PMMA (Polymethyl methacrylate) using theoretical simulations. The nanoclusters are formed from energetic condensation of gold ions in the polymer from the very first deposition pulse. Three gold ion energy values are considered (50 eV, 100 eV and 150 eV). The influence of ion energy on sputtering, nucleation, diffusion and depth profile is discussed. For energetic plasma deposition techniques, including Filtered Cathodic Vacuum Arc (FCVA) deposition, the arrival of ions to the system can be considered as rare events. Therefore, to access a complete description of the nucleation process, Molecular Dynamics simulation is combined with time stamped force bias Monte-Carlo (tfMC) for the first pulse of deposition.

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