Sputtering from a porous material by penetrating ions

J. F. Rodriguez-Nieva, E. M. Bringa, T. A. Cassidy, R. E. Johnson, A. Caro, M. Fama, M. J. Loeffler, R. A. Baragiola, D. Farkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Porous materials are ubiquitous in the universe and weathering of porous surfaces plays an important role in the evolution of planetary and interstellar materials. Sputtering of porous solids in particular can influence atmosphere formation, surface reflectivity, and the production of the ambient gas around materials in space. Several previous studies and models have shown a large reduction in the sputtering of a porous solid compared to the sputtering of the non-porous solid. Using molecular dynamics simulations we study the sputtering of a nanoporous solid with 55% of the solid density. We calculate the electronic sputtering induced by a fast, penetrating ion, using a thermal spike representation of the deposited energy. We find that sputtering for this porous solid is, surprisingly, the same as that for a full-density solid, even though the sticking coefficient is high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • atomic processes
  • methods: numerical
  • molecular processes
  • planets and satellites: surfaces
  • radiation mechanisms: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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