We have measured total sputtering yield for impact of slow (<=100 eV) singly and doubly charged ions on LiF. The minimum potential energy necessary to induce potential sputtering (PS) from LiF was determined to be about 10 eV. This threshold coincides with the energy necessary to produce a cold hole in the valence band of LiF by resonant neutralization. This allows the first unambigous identification of PS induced by cold holes. Further stepwise increase of the sputtering yield with higher projectile potential energy provides evidence for additional defect-mediated sputtering mechanisms operative in alkali halides.
Corresponding author: F. Aumayr (aumayr).
Users with online access to Phys. Rev. Lett. can load the article from the publisher.