Nano- and microstructuring of solids by swift heavy ions
A.N. Sevchenko Research Institute of Applied Physics Problems, Belarussian State University, pr. Kurchatova 7, Minsk, 220064, Belarus
A state-of-the-art review is presented of track formation processes and mechanisms in materials irradiated by swift ions. It is shown that the nature and morphology of tracks depend on the type and structure of the material and on the energy density transfer to its electronic subsystem. Swift heavy ions serve as tools to synthesize nanoclusters and nanowires, to controllably change their morphology and to tailor electronic, magnetic and optical properties. The unique optical, photoelectric and conducting properties of tracks lead to a new generation of electronic and optoelectronic nanosized devices. These objects of restricted dimensions exhibit quantum behavior and stimulate a broad range of fundamental and applied research.