Funnel-type etched ion tracks in polymers

D. Fink, J. Vacík, V. Hnatowicz, G. H. Muñoz, L. Alfonta, I. Klinkovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


It is shown that conical track etching is a much more complicated process than generally assumed. The choice of the corresponding parameters (i.e. the ratios of concentrations and diffusion coefficients of both etchant (e.g. NaOH) and stopping solutions (e.g. HCl) and the etching temperature) determines the ratio of polymer dissolution to etchant penetration. The latter value controls the counterplay of diffusion, etching, ionic conductivity, field emission and capacitive effects, which is decisive for both the final track shapes and their electronic properties. The stages of track evolution during etching under different conditions are outlined in detail. Both transparent conical nanopores and funnel-type tracks can be obtained, the latter consisting of a shorter cone and a residual latent track. Depending on the internal structure of that latent track segment, such funnel-type tracks either allow smooth transmission of the rectified currents or they emit unipolar current spikes. Not only the study of electronic properties of single ion tracks, but also of a multitude of tracks makes sense. Depending on the applied parameters, the individual track properties may either just add up, or new effects may be found that emerge from the interaction of the tracks among each other. This is preferentially the case for spike-emitting tracks, where effects such as phase-locked spike synchronization can be found as described by neural network theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-361
Number of pages19
JournalRadiation Effects and Defects in Solids
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2010


  • Electrical characterization
  • Etching
  • Ion transmission spectrometry
  • Neutron depth profiling
  • Polymers
  • Tracks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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