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Highly charged ion (HCI) modified tunnel junctions



Joshua M. Pomeroy, Holger Grube


The neutralization energy carried by highly charged ions (HCIs) provides a fundamentally independent method for localizing energy on a target’s surface, producing features and modifying surfaces with fluences and kinetic energies that are negligible for singly ionized atoms. Since each HCI can deposit an enormous amount of energy into a small volume of the surface (e.g., Xe44+ delivers 51 keV of neutralization energy per HCI), each individual HCI’s interaction with the target produces a nanoscale feature. Many studies of HCI-surface features have characterized some basic principles of this unique ion-surface interaction, but recent activity reported here is focused on studying ensembles of HCI features in ultra-thin insulating films by fabricating devices in a perpendicular transport geometry. The ultra-thin insulating barriers only allow current to flow by tunneling, providing a very sensitive means of detecting changes in the barrier due to highly charged ions, and conversely, providing a means of finely tuning the transparency of the tunnel junctions over several orders of magnitude. Systematic variation of junction bias, temperature, magnetic field and other parameters provide insight into the properties and potential of these nano-features and this novel approach to device fabrication.
Proceedings Title
American Institute of Physics Conference Proceedings Series.
Conference Dates
August 11-15, 2008
Conference Location
Ft. Worth, TX
Conference Title
CAARI 2008 - 20th International Conference on the Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry


magnetic tunnel junction, highly charged ions, electron beam ion trap (EBIT)


Pomeroy, J. and Grube, H. (2008), Highly charged ion (HCI) modified tunnel junctions, American Institute of Physics Conference Proceedings Series. , Ft. Worth, TX (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created August 15, 2008, Updated February 17, 2017