The initial luminescence yield of amorphous silica under ion irradiation has been studied at temperatures between 30 and 100 K, using swift ions of different masses and energies (3 MeV H, 3.5 MeV He, 19 MeV Si and 19 MeV Cl). The intensity of the 2.1 eV emission band, ascribed to the intrinsic recombination of self-trapped excitons (STEs), has been found to vary systematically with ion mass, energy and irradiation temperature. A detailed model has been developed to quantitatively describe those variations in terms of the competition between non-radiative Auger recombination, STE formation, STE thermal dissociation, and subsequent STE hopping and capture at non-radiative sinks. The model, which uses a thermal spike approach to describe the effect of swift ion bombardment, is found to quantitatively predict the experimental data without adjustable parameters. It provides new insights into the interactions of carriers in an ion track and the behavior of the luminescence emissions during ion irradiation (ionoluminescence). The model is found to predict the correct temperature dependence of the yield if an activation energy for STE thermal migration of 0.12 eV is assumed, which is in good agreement with values previously reported.


Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science


Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Grant 541D300

Keywords and Phrases

Carrier dynamics; Ion-matter interactions; Ionoluminescence; Self-trapped excitons; Silica

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2023 Elsevier; Acta Materialia, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2022