During a typical chemical etching process growth front morphology generally generates an isotropic rough surface. In this work, we show that it is possible to form a rippled surface morphology through a geometrical self-assembly process using a chemical oblique angle etching technique. We observe in our Monte Carlo simulations that obliquely incident reactive species preferentially etch the hills that are exposed to the beam direction due to the shadowing effect. In addition, species with non-unity sticking (etching) coefficients can be re-emitted from the side walls of the hills and etch the valleys, which at the end can lead to the formation of ripples along the direction of the beam. This mechanism is quite different than the previously reported ripple formation during ion-beam bombarded surfaces where the particles have much higher energies, lower incidence angle and ripple formation is mainly due to physical deformation of the surface. We investigate the ripple formation process in our simulated surfaces for a wide range of etching angle and sticking coefficient values.
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Mehmet, F.C., Karabacak, T. Engineering Morphology of Surfaces by Oblique Angle Etching. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1059, 204 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-1059-KK02-04