Crucial to the understanding of plasma material interactions is the interaction of ions with surfaces. Acceleration of ions through the plasma sheath, as well as bombardment from high energy ions heated within the bulk plasma contributes heavily to the modification of surfaces exposed to plasma, particularly high energy plasmas, such as those seen in fusion.
Equipped with two different ion guns, the Ion-Surface Interaction Experiment has the ability to study a wide range of scenarios involving ion bombardment on surfaces. A Colutron ion gun allows for velocity and neutral filtered ion bombardment between 1 eV and 2 keV. A NTI lithium ion gun adds to the ion bombardment capability of the system. Magnetic sector and quadrupole residual gas analyzers as well as a quartz crystal microbalance are included to diagnose the interaction of accelerated ions with various surfaces.
The diagnostic suite allows for monitoring of sputtering yields as well as desorption of gaseous chemical sputtering products. IIAX in tandem with the Material Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois can also investigate changes in surface chemistry and morphology from ion bombardment.