Copper substrates were implanted with carbon ions at temperature ranging from 570 to 973 K. Implantation microstructures were investigated using transmission electron microscopy and high-resolution electron microscopy. Carbon onions and nanocapsules were observed together with amorphous carbon layers. Most of the nanocapsules were found to be hollow and rarely included copper nanoparticles. The encapsulating of Cu nanoparticles with graphene layers, the gradual shrinkage of the encapsulated clusters, and finally the disappearance of the clusters (leaving behind hollow nanocapsules) were observed under electron irradiation at 783 K. Statistics of cluster size as a function of ion fluence, implantation temperature, and substrate crystallinity gave insights into the nucleation processes of onions and nanocapsules. One process involves the formation of graphene layers on grain boundaries to encapsulate copper particles. The other process is the nucleation of graphene cages, probably fullerenes, due to high concentration of carbon atoms and high amount of radiation damage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas