Spherical silica colloids with a diameter of 1.0 µm, made by wet chemical synthesis, were irradiated with 2–16 MeV Au ions at fluences in the range (2–11)×1014 cm–2. The irradiation induces an anisotropic plastic deformation turning the spherical colloids into ellipsoidal oblates. After 16 MeV Au irradiation to a fluence of 11×1014 cm–2, a size aspect ratio of 5.0 was achieved. The size polydispersity (~3%) remains unaffected by the irradiation. The transverse diameter increases exponentially with ion fluence. By performing measurements as a function of ion energy at a fixed fluence, it is concluded that the transverse diameter increases linearly with the average electronic energy loss above a threshold value of ~0.6 keV/nm. Nonellipsoidal colloids are observed in the case where the projected ion range is smaller than the colloid diameter. The data provide strong support for the thermal spike model of anisotropic deformation.

Appl. Phys. Lett.
Photonic Materials

van Dillen, T, van Blaaderen, A, Fukarek, W, & Polman, A. (2001). Energy-dependent anisotropic deformation of colloidal silica particles under MeV Au irradiation. Appl. Phys. Lett., 78, 910–912.