Shave-off depth profiling achieves the highly precise depth profiling with nanometre-scaled depth resolution by using a focused ion beam micro-machining process to provide depth profile. This method has its own features: absolute depth scale, pinpoint depth profiling and application for rough surface and/or hetero interface. Although this method has significant features, the quantitative evaluation of the fundamental predominance in shave-off depth profiling is still insufficient because the shave-off scanning mode has a distinctive position of the primary ion beam against the sample. In this study, the sputtering yield and the mixing effects under the shave-off scan mode were investigated using molecular dynamics simulation. The obtained sputtering yields under the shave-off and the raster modes accorded well with experimental results. The results of sputtering yields and root mean square displacement suggested that the shave-off scan mode has a high sputtering yield and low mixing effects compared with the raster scan mode. In addition, the distribution of the marker atoms clearly showed the process of mixing. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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