G.S. Was, S. Taller, Z. Jiao, A.M. Monterrosa, D. Woodley, D. Jennings, T. Kubley, F. Naab, O. Toader, E. Uberseder
ABSTRACT: The widely experienced problem of carbon uptake in samples during ion irradiation was systematically investigated to identify the source of carbon and to develop mitigation techniques. Possible sources of carbon included carbon ions or neutrals incorporated into the ion beam, hydrocarbons in the vacuum sys- tem, and carbon species on the sample and fixture surfaces. Secondary ion mass spectrometry, atom probe tomography, elastic backscattering spectrometry, and principally, nuclear reaction analysis, were used to profile carbon in a variety of substrates prior to and following irradiation with Fe2+ ions at high temperature. Ion irradiation of high purity Si and Ni, and also of alloy 800H coated with a thin film of alumina eliminated the ion beam as the source of carbon. Hydrocarbons in the vacuum and/or on the sample and fixtures was the source of the carbon that became incorporated into the samples during irra- diation. Plasma cleaning of the sample and sample stage, and incorporation of a liquid nitrogen cold trap both individually and especially in combination, completely eliminated the uptake of carbon during heavy ion irradiation. While less convenient, coating the sample with a thin film of alumina was also effective in eliminating carbon incorporation.