Effect of Oxygen Chemistry in Sputtering of Polymers

M Kanski and BJ Garrison and Z Postawa, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS, 7, 1559-1562 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b00514

Molecular dynamics computer simulations are used to model kiloelectronvolt cluster bombardment of pure hydrocarbon polyethylene (PE) and polystyrene (PS) and oxygen-containing paraformaldehyde (PFA) and polylactic acid (PLA) polymers by 20 keV C-60 projectiles at a 45 degrees impact angle to investigate the chemical effect of oxygen in the substrate material on the sputtering process. The simulations demonstrate that the presence of oxygen enhances the formation of small molecules such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water, and various molecules containing C=O double bonds. The explanation for the enhanced small molecule formation is the stability of carbon and oxygen multiple bonds relative to multiple bonds with only carbon atoms. This chemistry is reflected in the fraction of the ejected material that has a mass not higher than 104 amu. For PFA and PLA, the fraction is approximately 90% of the total mass, whereas for PE and PS, it is less than half.

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